Skip to main content

Full text of "Andrew Jackson : the gentle savage"

See other formats


handle this volume 

with care. 

he University of Connecticut 
Libraries, Storrs 






€*><>. /-v^>^-i^ 

BOOK 973.56.J132 ZK c. 1 

3 T1S3 0D05Efi7T b 


Painting From Life by Samuel Waldo 
Courtesy, Metropolitan Museum of Art 


About 1816 

Andrew Jackson 


David Karsner 



NEW YORK. 1929 


This hook, copyi'ight Tp2p by Brentano's, Inc., 
has been manufactured in the United States of 
America, the composition, electrotyping and 
presswork by the Vail-Ballou Press, Bing- 
hamton, N. Y., the binding by Harmon and 
Irwin, Inc., New York City. 

To the Memory of 

my Mother and Father 

I dedicate this hook 

How shall we rank thee upon glory's page, 
Thou more than soldier, and just less than sage? 

Thomas Moore (1779-1852) 


/ Time for a Life Begins . 

II The Emigrants Arrive 

III Andy Jackson Goes to War . 

IV Law Books and Fighting Cocks 
V Solicitor and Tennessee Bad Man 

VI Polishes His Pistols and Weds 

VII Man of Many Affairs 

VIII The Backwoods Statesman 

IX A Judge on the Rampage . 

X The Frontier Storekeeper . 

XI The Killing on Red River 

XII Jackson, Burr and Treason 

XIII War Clouds Gather for 1812 

XIV Off to War, Home to a Duel 
XV War with the Creeks . 

XVI Mutiny and Victory . 










., -•^^ -^. -•-., 


Jackson Talks with Cannons . 

. 211 


The Battle of New Orleans . 

. 224 


The General Tests His Power 

. . 240 


More Hot Water and Florida 

. . 250 


Governor of Florida .... 

. . 266 


The Statesman Emerges . 

. . 275 


The President 

. 290 


''Millennium of the Minnows'' . 

. . 301 


Jackson Defends Peggy Eaton 

. . 311 


The Jeremiah of Democracy . 

. . 324 


The War on the Bank 

. . 340 


Re-Election and the Nullifiers 



The End of the Reign 

. . 366 


Time for a Life Is Closed 

. . 384 

Acknowledgment . . . . . 

• 397 


Andrew Jackson, about 1816 frontispiece 

Mrs. Rachel Jackson 74 

John C. Calhoun 172 

Henry Clay 264 

What ''Pretty Peggy" Produced— 

A Contemporary Cartoon 318 

Andrezv Jackson, as President, about i8jj . . . 382 

Facsimile of the Concluding Paragraph of a Letter 

from General Jackson to F. P. Blair .... 394 


Chapter I 

LIFE, unmeasured and unhurried, takes all the time it 
f seems to need for the development of its animate and 
inanimate tokens of triumph and travail. 

Life is a prodigal sower of the seed that laughs at the 
harvest, and busies itself with hanging out the stars each 
night and dusting off the sun for the day. 

The life of man is a penny balloon which the wind has 
blown into the center of things to help celebrate the per- 
petual snake dance that has neither beginning nor ending. 

Andrew Jackson was being piloted toward this earth 
star hundreds, even thousands, of years before he ar- 
rived. Being born, he became, as a poet said, "the om- 
nibus of his ancestors." He was the latest visible emissary 
to the earth of all that had transpired within his own 
antecedent line, and much else besides. 

Fear, courage, joy and sorrow that he was called upon 
to confront had never been faced before in the same way 
that these elements were presented to the baby, the boy, 
the youth, the man, and the aged one, surfeited with 
honors, who crept toward the grave in the sweet pastures 
of his beloved Hermitage and rejoiced that the journey 
was ended. 



His multiple problems, age-old and repetitive as they 
were, were new to the child and to the man that was once 
a child. That life, and the joys, sorrows, triumphs and 
defeats that were the embroidery of it, belonged pecul- 
iarly and singly to him. 

He could not share them with a single soul. His ex- 
perience would be of no avail to those who might follow 
his seed, or trek in his trail. For none could be like him, 
as none is like another. A man's life is an active current 
that casts both light and shadow between two slumbering 
poles. Thousands of years have combined to create it. It 
is electric and dynamic. It is positive and negative. Oppo- 
sition may cause it to be aggressive, or submissive, or 

The chemical, cultural, and environmental forces that 
were compounding in the antecedent line of a man's life 
before the man arrived very largely determine the sort 
of creature he will be at the beginning; but as the child 
grows, the facets of his life, the things he sees, and says, 
and does, and what others tell him they have seen, and 
what others do to him, form his own prism. He weaves 
his web, spider-like, and is the center of his own universe 
■ — until Life, relentless and mocking, brushes his little 
universe out of the crevice of the earth, and spins new 
gossamer for another tenant. 

It is difficult to trace back the direct line of Andrew 
Jackson in the North of Ireland, but we know that certain 
forces were at work nearly two hundred years before his 
birth that would have definite effect upon his life. Though 
the begetting of human life seems to be haphazard, it also 
appears that certain races, and certain types of men of 



those races, have arrived at the time when they were most 
needed for a specific task affecting the human family. The 
theory of personal predestination is scarcely tenable, but 
it is observed, nonetheless, that whenever the advancing 
races require a task to be done there are men capable of 
doing it, for weal or for woe, and it does not matter much, 
except to the distributors of medals and parchments, 
whether we call them Caesars, Napoleons, Washingtons 
or Jacksons. 

It is the fourth year of the seventeenth century, and 
King James I is enjoying his reign over England. He 
adheres to the belief that the monarch owns his country, 
and he is beginning to find it extremely inconvenient to 
think that a great number of landlords and merchants, 
and intelligent persons generally are about to set a very 
definite limit upon the prerogatives of the monarch and 
his ministers. 

The frequent wars had become expensive pastimes, for 
the armies now consisted of paid troops and the soldiers 
insisted upon their pay. Elaborate fortifications had been 
built to conduct long sieges, and when the bills for these 
trappings began to pile up in all the chancelleries of 
Europe there was much unpleasantness among the kings, 
princes and ministers over what to do. There were heard 
ominous rumblings of protest against taxation that was 
necessary if they were to continue diplomatic aggressions 
and alliances. Actually, the princes discovered they were 
not the masters of their subjects' lives and property, and 
they were greatly dismayed. Finance, always a trouble- 



some matter in high places, had become a spectre in every 
council chamber. It was like vinegar poured over the 
dinner of the kings. 

James did not have to stand upon the back stairs to 
hear the gossip of protest against the expenses of state. 
His ministers might bring the worrisome tidings with 
them through the royal gates. But a king should be kingly 
while on his throne, and so James, who enjoyed his job, 
in his most royal manner said: "As it is atheism and 
blasphemy to dispute what God can do, so it is presump- 
tion and high contempt in a subject to dispute what a king 
can do, or say that a king cannot do this or that.'^ 

If Andrew Jackson had been a studious man, which 
he was not, and had taken time to discover the one per- 
son more responsible than any other for the high destiny 
that he was to attain, he might have found that King 
James was not only the author of kingly precepts, but 
was the founder in a very real sense of that portion of 
North Ireland from whence the ancestors of Andrew 
came. He might have discovered, also, that King James 
laid the foundation for the American nation, for in 1606 
the King gave a group of prosperous Englishmen per- 
mission to plant colonies on the American coast between 
Cape Fear River and Halifax, and in the following year 
this group was to send over to America about one hun- 
dred colonists who settled on an island near the mouth 
of a river which flows into the Chesapeake Bay and 
founded a colony which they called Jamestown in honor 
of their King. Perhaps Andrew knew that this settlement 
was the beginning of the State of Virginia and the genesis 
of the American nation. 



Hence, Andrew, had he taken the time to reflect, might 
have recognized in King James the founder of America 
where Andrew was to win renown as a great warrior 
and rule for eight years as the seventh President of the 
United States in such fashion as to cause even the kings, 
contemporary with his rule, to tremble with envy at the 
idolatry and fear that Jackson's reign was to inspire in 
the hearts of a free people. 

Also, he might have discovered that King James, in 
1604, sponsored the writing of a new text of the Bible 
and gave it his imprimatur in 161 1 — the Bible that was 
the constant companion and solace in the life of Andrew's 
beloved Rachel, and the one book that he was to read 
more than any other after her death as he sat alone in a 
draughty room, by an open fire, a shawl draping his 
shoulders, smoking his pipe, and frequently punctuating 
his reading of her own copy with the thought of how it 
happened that he had ever managed to reach the White 

But, strictly speaking, Jackson was never a meditative 
man and he spent no time in dreaming. Least of all 
would he ever have dreamt that he owed one thing or 
thought to Great Britain. As a boy he had fought the 
country of his fathers in the War for American Inde- 
pendence, and as a man in 181 2 he had led another war 
against England and driven her troops into the sea at New 
Orleans. Andrew hated what he thought were great evils. 
He could bestow his affection upon the most trivial pleas- 
ures if they did not take too much time from thought and 
action against the things and persons that so often pro- 
voked him to outbursts of eloquent hatreds. He was an 



extrovert rather than an introvert. He was more in- 
terested in deeds than dreams, more in accompHshment 
than in the joy of fashioning it. The extroverts are the 
doers, builders, organizers and pioneers. Day-dreaming, 
v^hich the introvert indulges and perhaps weaves into a 
poem or a picture, was not Andrew's sin. 


About the same time that King James granted per- 
mission for the first English colonists to settle in America, 
he turned his eyes toward the North of Ireland and found 
the country lying in waste and unpeopled after the long 
wars. James, who doubtless wished to be remembered in 
history as an efficient monarch, and who also was a 
sagacious opportunist, careful to impress upon his flock 
that he was their thoughtful shepherd, instead of bestow- 
ing the lands upon courtiers and soldiers in large tracts, 
divided them into small portions, which he granted to 
settlers, with this admonition : "No one shall obtain grants 
of land which he is unable to plant with men." 

Hearing this, large numbers of Protestant Scotchmen 
crossed a narrow firth and availed themselves of the 
King's bounty. They settled in Ulster, intermarried with 
the natives, and founded that sturdy, tenacious race 
whose diverse qualities are so curiously blended — the 
Scotch-Irish. They have always been tough, vehement, 
gooH-hearted people — honest, prudent and persevering — ■ 
competent to grapple with stubborn affairs, and often dis- 
playing an impetuosity which is Irish, and a persistence 
which is Scotch. Their genius, as a rule, has shone in 
pursuits other than the arts, and it is their trait to con- 



tend for what they think is just with pecuHar earnestness. 
It is difficult for this race of men to allow an honest 
difference of opinion. They are apt to regard the terms 
opponent and enemy as synonymous, and once their 
^'dander is up," as the old saying goes, they are likely to 
pursue their quarry with a ferocity of spirit such as 
was manifested in the old wars of the clans. 

Many have observed that the racial characteristics of 
these people are blended in different proportions in each 
individual. In some the Scotch is uppermost, in others 
the Irish. Some must sow their Irish w^ild oats before 
coming to their Scotch traits, and others are shrewd and 
cautious Scots in repose and ebullient Irish in contention. 
Another trait of these people is to imbibe a prejudice or 
belief with Irish readiness and cling to it with Scotch 

America has been plentifully peopled with this race 
of men. We should not have subdued the wilderness, tun- 
nelled the mountains and spanned the rivers without them. 
They came here to build and they have builded, these 
Scotch-Irish, and their songs were repressed mostly by 
labor and sweat, and the music they heard was the whack 
of the axe and the pick. On the whole, their love of liberty 
and regard for what they thought was right and just have 
done honor to themselves and to America. The abounding 
energy of these men made them fit pioneers, and enabled 
them to do the ordinary things in a most extraordinary 
and memorable manner. 

America knows the Scotch-Irish. They have left their 
impress in many halls. America is familiar with the names 
of Sam Houston, Robert Fulton, David Crockett, Horace 



Greeley, James K. Polk, A. T, Stewart, John C. Calhoun, 
and Andrew Jackson. 


Carrickfergus, on the northern coast of Ireland, was 
one of the antiquities of Europe when Belfast, nine miles 
away, was an unknown hamlet. With the beginning of the 
trading era, when the plow, the shuttle and the spinning 
wheel succeeded the battle-axe in importance, Belfast be- 
came an important trading center, in fact the most sig- 
nificant and busiest city in Ulster. About 1750, Carrick- 
fergus was a third rate seaport town. The name of the 
place is derived from that of an ancient monarch who 
was cast away and drowned. Legend says his body was 
tossed up by the waves upon the crag. Its inhabitants num- 
bered about one thousand, who were supported by fishing 
and the manufacture of linen. For many generations the 
forefathers of Andrew Jackson lived in this town. They 
were fishermen, linen drapers and tenant farmers. They 
were all poor and hard working, remarkable for nothing 
but their uniform probity, their diligence and the in- 
cessant earnestness with which they carried on. 

Hugh Jackson, Andrew's grandfather, appears to be 
the first of the line of whom there is any record, and 
that is meagre enough. He was a linen draper, and in 
the year 1760 he is supposed to have ''suffered" in a 
''siege" of Carrickfergus. The incident is ridiculous. It 
appears that one morning a French fleet of three armed 
vessels sailed into the bay and anchored near the town. 
The sailors were weary and looked forward, as most 
sailors do, to a brief spell on land where they might rid 



themselves of thoughts that harass them at sea. For many 
centuries there had stood on the crag an old castle that 
was falling into ruins, and this was garrisoned by one 
hundred and fifty men. The troops on the French ves- 
sels, eager to land, were amazed that the mayor of the 
town should deny them entry. He believed they came for 
evil purpose. The French marched in and stormed the 
castle. Fifty of their number fell dead before the gates 
and another half hundred were wounded. 

The Scotch-Irish defenders of the castle and of Car- 
rickfergus did not learn until later that the French had 
put in only for provisions. If Hugh Jackson suffered in 
this ^'siege" it could not have been either severe or pro- 
longed. He was the father of four sons, the youngest of 
whom was Andrew, the father of this study. The sons, 
like their parent, were poor and eked out an existence as 
tenant farmers. 

Andrew Jackson pere married Elizabeth Hutchinson, 
daughter of a poverty stricken Presbyterian, which was 
the faith of the Jacksons. Two sons were born of this 
union in Ireland, Hugh and Robert. 

Mrs. Jackson had several sisters, and all the Hutchin- 
son girls, both before and after marriage, were weavers 
of linen — Irish linen so much sought by meticulous 
women of yesterday and of to-day. To produce this dur- 
able fabric and to secure a living wage from it, the 
Hutchinson girls, among whom was Andrew Jackson's 
mother, were obliged to toil from sunrise until sunset, 
and not infrequently the better part of the night. 

Many a night Elizabeth Jackson tucked little Hugh 
and Robert into their beds, bade Andrew, her husband, 



an early good-night and returned to her loom to work 
through, maybe until dawn. The father, tired from his 
day's labor on a farm not his own, had little time to pass 
— and less inclination — in quiet and peaceful evening 
hours with his wife and boys after the day's work was 
done. They were proletarians in a very real sense, these 
hardy parents of a future President of the United States. 

When Andrew Jackson pere toiled on his few rented 
acres in the North of Ireland, more than one hundred and 
sixty years ago, the community still believed in brownies, 
witches, fairies, spooks, evil eyes and charms. The 
ducking-stool for scolding wives was still in use. An 
historian of Carrickfergus has observed that they nailed 
horse-shoes to the bottoms of their churns; were joyous 
with the birth of a seventh son; fearful w4ien a dog 
howled at night, or a mirror was broken; would negotiate 
no enterprise on Friday, nor change their residence on 

What is known as an Irish Wake originated there. 
Those meetings were conducted with great decorum. Por- 
tions of the Scriptures were read, and frequently a prayer 
was pronounced. Pipes and tobacco were always laid out 
on the table, and liquors or other refreshments were dis- 
tributed during the night. If a dog or a cat passed over 
the corpse it was immediately killed, as it was believed 
the first person the animal would pass over afterwards 
would be summarily dispatched. A plate with salt was 
placed on the breast of the departed one to keep the body 
from swelling. 

On Shrove Tuesday all ate pancakes, and threw sticks 
at chickens. The owner of the chicken received one penny 



for each throw until the fowl was killed. That custom 
ceased about 1794. Easter Monday was a day of general 
rejoicing and festivity, including cock-fights. On the eve 
of May first boys and girls went to the fields and gathered 
May flowers, and sprigs of rowan trees were stuck at the 
tops of outside doors to keep out the witches. 

There were all manner of superstitions and "signs" 
about the weather, and many of these rustic customs and 
beliefs were brought over by the emigrants and have sur- 
vived in the United States to this day. Andrew Jackson, 
himself, was reluctant to begin any new task on Friday, 
and w^ould not do so if it could be avoided. 


The loom and the land were exacting their price from 
the lives of Andrew and Elizabeth. The father saw that 
little Hugh and Robert were growing up. He thought it 
was not just that they, like himself, should be forever 
harnessed to the stubborn sod of the North of Ireland. 
There was a new land across the ocean ! Reports about it 
had been filtering back into England, Scotland and Ire- 
land for a hundred years. True, the folks who had gone 
over there had had a hard time, the same as it was in the 
old land. But then it was new, and that was much. 

At least one of Elizabeth's numerous sisters was al- 
ready in America and four others were preparing to go 
soon. These adventures to America got to be the talk of 
the town. Men in the fields would stop suddenly and lean 
on the handles of their plows and gaze in the direction 
of the New World. Thoughts would come unbidden, and 
those thoughts would often change the direction of their 



lives. Like as not such thoughts in the head of a North of 
Irelander has more than once altered and re-directed the 
character of a city, a state, the American nation itself — 
these thoughts dreamed by Scotch-Irishmen in the green 
fields of Erin. 

Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson allowed they were 
thrifty and honest. They knew, too, that each worked as 
hard as human endurance would permit. Little it was they 
got for their pains. What say, Andrew! It could not be 
worse in the New Land, and it might be better. What 
say, Elizabeth! They asked each other the question with 
their eyes turned westward toward the green waters upon 
whose bosom many boats had glided safely to American 
shores. They were not old people yet and the land was 
new. The King and his courtiers would be far away. 
There would be an end for them to those harassing politi- 
cal problems that had beset Ireland for so long and made 
of her the football of British politics. 

Hugh and Robert could grow up in a fresh country 
among people who had dreams instead of only memories. 
What say, Andrew ! What say, Elizabeth I 

The year is 1765. King George III has been reigning 
for five years. The American colonies have been resist- 
ing the Stamp Act, and in the following year it will re- 
ceive another blow when Benjamin Franklin bears his 
testimony against it in the House of Commons. In Ger- 
many they were just beginning to call Frederick II ''the 
Great," and in France Louis XV, the froHcsome one, was 
mourning the death of Pompadour. In the colonies there 



was much talk about a man named Washington who Hved 
in Virginia. It was said that he had distinguished him- 
self as a Colonel of the militia of that province when the 
Provincial Governor had sent him to halt the invasion 
of the French and Indians at Laurel Ridge. But that was 
ten years earlier. 

He was being talked about quite generally now, for al- 
ready there were rumblings of discontent in the colonies. 
Maybe it would all blow over. In any case what was being 
talked about in the provinces was of no immediate in- 
terest to Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson, who were busy 
packing their few articles of clothing preparatory to the 
great adventure in the Western World. 

They come aboard the ship, accompanied by three of 
their neighbors, James, Robert and Joseph Crawford. 
James was married to one of Elizabeth's numerous sis- 
ters. Samuel Jackson, a brother of Andrew pere, thought 
he would not go over just yet. There were things to do 
around the place. After all, everybody could not desert 
Ireland for America. Maybe he would follow in a little 
while if Andrew's letters back home seemed to bear glad 
tidings. No matter what Andrew wrote back home, if 
indeed he wrote anything, Samuel packed his bag and 
came over, establishing himself in Philadelphia, where he 
enjoyed a long residence under rather comfortable con- 

Samuel's predominant trait appears to have been Scotch. 
He seems to have divined that misfortune might trail his 
brother Andrew, and, being canny, possibly decided it 
would be wiser, should he come to America, not to involve 
himself too much with Andrew's affairs. He never did. 


Chapter II 

THE boat puts in at the shore of Charleston, South 
CaroHna, and Andrew Jackson, with heavy sacks 
thrown across each shoulder, tries to help Elizabeth, who 
also is laden with bundles, down the gangplank to a firm 
footing on land, while he watches out of the tail of his 
eye Hugh and Robert, who are tugging after. He jerks 
his big shoulders and tosses off the sacks. Elizabeth puts 
her bundles down and gazes about her wonderingly. Her 
sister, wife of one of the Crawfords, talks a great deal, 
but Elizabeth does not hear much that she is saying. All 
are glad the long voyage is over. It was not a particularly 
pleasant trip for those who did not know exactly where 
they were going, and had but little funds to fall back 
upon if all 'did not go well. Andrew has least of all. 

They ask directions to the Waxhaw Settlement where 
many of their kindred and countrymen had already estab- 
lished themselves. It was a case of sheep following sheep. 
They are told that the settlement lies one hundred and 
sixty miles to the northwest of Charleston, and they must 
make the trip by stage coach in relays. 

The settlement, named Waxhaw by Indians, had been 
the tribal seat of the Red-skins. The region was watered 



by the Catawba River, a branch of which was called 
Waxhaw Creek. Waxhaw straddled the provinces of 
North Carolina and South Carolina. It appears that most 
of the inhabitants of that particular region did not know 
which province they lived in, and did not bother to find 

The lands along the boundary that once composed the 
ancient settlement are still called the Waxhaws. 

The Crawfords, who came over with the Jacksons 
from County Antrim, Ireland, bought a piece of land 
near the center of the settlement, on Waxhaw Creek. 
Less work would have to be done with it to effect a clear- 
ing than w^ith some other lands round about. It looked 
like a pretty good place to settle down. There was wilder- 
ness farther along the creek — great, heavy timbers — but 
Jim Crawford saw no reason why he should give himself 
unnecessary work. 

Andrew Jackson, however, because he had come to a 
new country, persists in building his cabin on virgin earth. 
When he left Ireland he was determined to make a new- 
start. There would be nothing pending from any previous 
experience save his power to wield another axe. He might 
have done the easier thing, like Jim Crawford, and pitched 
his shack upon the ground of the settlement itself. In- 
stead he travels seven miles more, halting on new land 
which had never known the incision of spade or plow. He 
decided he would work out his future here, on the banks 
of Twelve Mile Creek, another branch of the Catawba 
River. Seventy-five years ago, and nearly a century after 
its occupancy by the elder Jackson, this spot was called 
"Pleasant Grove Camp Ground." If Andrew the elder 



could have known that, it would have been some con- 
solation for the agony of labor that was his portion in 
being the first to assault that ''howling wilderness." 

As cheap as ground was in the pre-Revolutionary days, 
when the colonies had little else but land and timber, 
Andrew Jackson pere was too poor to afford the purchase 
of the tract on which he had settled. 

Research done by many hands into the archives of 
the Carolinas for the last three quarters of a century has 
failed to yield any evidence that General Jackson's father 
owned a foot of ground in this country. He was a tenant 
farmer in Ireland ; he was a backwoodsman here, without 
title to the ground that he was preparing for unnum- 
bered harvests that others would reap. 

Andrew Jackson, the elder, fought against the wilder- 
ness on Twelve Mile Creek, and conquered it in two 
years. He had made a clearing with the scanty tools that 
he possessed ; he had marked out a patch for a farm and 
had raised one crop ; he had built a home. 

And now Andrew Jackson was dead. If ever there lived 
a man whose soul and sinew was consecrated to the de- 
vouring god. Toil, he was the father of General Jackson. 
For two short years, which probably were two eternities 
for Andrew and Elizabeth, these pioneers toiled in the 
Carolina woods. Together they had built a log-house and 
called it home. Together they rolled heavy stones back 
off the virgin earth that it might yield them food. An- 
drew with his axe felled heavy timbers that came crash- 
ing through the cathedral of trees, and together they 



tugged at them, moving them an inch at a time, until 
they had made a space so that the sun might warm their 
sturdy cabin. 

And now the pioneer was dead. But the grim frontiers- 
man from the North of Ireland had left seed for another 
cycle. Betty Jackson would see to that ! 

It was a cold, bleak, sleety March day in 1767 when 
they lifted the broken body of Andrew Jackson into a 
springless farm cart borrowed from a neighbor. The plain 
box coffin is pushed to one side of the cart, so that the 
widow and the boys and one or two of the Crawfords 
might sit on an improvised bench opposite the corpse and 
accompany it to Waxhaw Cemetery. This ancient burial 
ground is in Lancaster County, South Carolina, a few 
miles from the North Carolina border. More than half 
a century ago it was described as *'a strange and lonely 
place." It has been used as a burying ground for nearly 
two centuries, and among its tenants are the bones of 
General William Richardson Davie, a noted Revolution- 
ary soldier and Governor of North Carolina. 

The spot where Andrew Jackson lies is known by the 
stones that mark the graves of his relatives in the Set- 
tlement. There is no stone to mark his grave. In a sense, 
the early history of that section is bluntly written upon 
those slabs which long since have crumbled. In the mid- 
dle of the nineteenth century these lines were still de- 
cipherable upon one of them, written in the Jacksonian 
manner : 

"Here lies the body of Mr. William Blair, who de- 
parted this life in the 64th year of his age, on the 26. day 



of July, A. D., 1 82 1, at 9 p. M. He was born in the county 
of Antrim, Ireland, on the 24th day of March, 1759. 
When about thirteen years old, he came with his father 
to this country, where he resided till his death. 

^'Immediately on his left are deposited the earthly re- 
mains of his only wife, Sarah, whose death preceded his 
but a few years. 

"He was a revolutionary patriot, and in the humble 
station of private soldier and wagon-master, he con- 
tributed more to the establishment of American inde- 
pendence than many whose names are proudly emblazoned 
on the page of history." 

Betty Jackson lacks the heart to return to the log 
cabin on Twelve Mile Creek. If there is anything there 
she wants then some day she may send Hugh and Robert 
up the trail to fetch it. There is nothing she wishes now 
save quiet words and the light of friendly faces. The 
ring of Andrew's axe is still in her ears, and Andrew is 
in the earth. She turns to Charlie Findly, who had sup- 
plied and driven the cart that hauled her man to his final 
peace, and asks him to take her to George McKemey's 

McKemey is the husband of Margaret, another sister 
of Mrs. Jackson, and Betty knows she will be welcomed 
in the McKemey cabin, although she has decided to pro- 
ceed to the home of another brother-in-law, James Craw- 
ford, a little later. Just now she must stay with the 
McKemeys. Their place, in Mecklenburg County, North 
Carolina, is the nearest stop from the Waxhaw Cemetery, 
while the Crawford homestead lies a few miles away, in 



the province of South Carolina, and it might take all 
day to get there. 

Elizabeth Jackson, called Betty by her relatives, has 
great need of immediate rest. The McKemeys had heard 
that Betty was ''in a family way." 

Tw^o nights pass. On the third night Betty is seized 
with labor pains, and messengers are sent hurriedly to 
the homes of neighboring women to come quickly to 
George McKemey's house. Mrs. Sarah Leslie, known in 
the settlement as a midwife, comes posthaste across the 
fields, bringing her small daughter, Sarah, with her, be- 
cause she is afraid to leave Sarah alone in the cabin. 
Indians are still prowling about, and the white women 
take none too kindly to the Carolina nights. 


It is the night of March 15, 1767. Andrew Jackson is 
born in the home of George McKemey, in the Waxhaw 
Settlement, Mecklenburg County, the province of North 
Carolina. For a century and a half local leaders of pa- 
triotic societies, statesmen at Washington, historians and 
biographers of Andrew Jackson w^ill quarrel and debate 
the question of whether he was born in North or South 
Carolina. They will be led astray by President Jackson's 
proclamation to the nullifiers of South Carolina whom he 
addressed as ''Fellow citizens of my native State." 

But there is abundant evidence adduced by James Par- 
ton, a most pains-taking historian, and many others since 
Parton wrote three quarters of a century ago, to support 
the claim of North Carolina. General Jackson once said 
that he was born in the McKemey cabin, which he be- 



lieved was in the province of South Carolina. He might 
easily have thought as much, for the McKemey cabin 
was less than a quarter of a mile from the boundary line 
then separating the two provinces. 

Many years ago the county was divided, and the section 
in which Jackson was born was named Union to com- 
memorate Jackson's silencing of the nullifiers of South 
Carolina. In this manner did North Carolina rebuke her 
sister state. It had first been proposed to call the county 
Jackson, but the name Union was deemed a worthier com- 
pliment, since the little county juts into South Carolina. 


Betty Jackson remained at the McKemey home only 
three weeks. She decided to leave Hugh, her eldest son, 
behind to help McKemey on the farm, and proceeded with 
Robert and the infant Andrew to the home of the Craw- 
fords with whom the Jacksons just two years ago came 
over from Ireland. Mrs. Crawford is an invalid and Jim 
Crawford is glad to give shelter to Betty and her brats 
in exchange for her talents as housekeeper. Thus Betty 
has a home, even though her status in it is that of a "poor 
relation." Surely not the most amiable of auspices, but 
much better than trying to go it alone in the shack that 
Andrew built up there on the Twelve Mile Creek. 

Little Andy Jackson passed the first ten or twelve years 
of his life in the home of his uncle, James Crawford. The 
Crawford family was quite large and the master of it 
was a man of considerable substance for one in a new 

No one has much time to give to Andy except to scold 



him, for he seems always to be getting into mischief. 
Neighbors come and complain to Mr. Crawford that 
Andy has ''beat up" first this boy and then the other, and 
Mr. Crawford goes straight to Betty Jackson and tells 
her she must keep Andy from being a nuisance and 
trouble maker among the other children, and Betty says 
she will try her best to curb him. Betty, who has grown 
stout, always seems to be knitting or spinning, and she 
has not much time to keep a watchful eye upon Andy, 
what with her constant duties as housekeeper in the large 
Crawford family. 

Wild turkeys and deer abound in the woods and little 
Andrew Jackson, aged six years, already has asked his 
mother for a gun. He sees tall men w^alking along the 
stiff red clay roads, each with a bag of game on his back 
and a gun slung across his shoulder. Andy stiffens his lit- 
tle back and struts down the road, far behind them, mak- 
ing himself believe he is a soldier, bringing up the rear. 
Soldier talk is getting to be quite frequent round about, 
and, though Andrew does not know what it means, he 
likes to hear the talk. When none is looking he does a 
solo parade in the house, just like the time he strutted 
down the red road behind the hunters. 

In the moonlight he sees the Waxhaw farmers and 
their men gathered round a blazing fire of pine knots in 
the forests, and some unnameable emotion that over- 
whelms children — something akin to heroism and a great 
longing to be grown up — surges through him, and he 
wants to be like that, sitting beside a blazing fire in the 
moonlight. In the daytime he watches the huge covered 
w^agons rumbling along the rough roads, and now and 



then a farmer will pull up his horses and let little Andy 
climb up on the seat. Once a farmer hoisted him upon a 
horse, and that was heaven for Andy Jackson. 


The time has arrived for Andy to be sent to a ''field 
school.'* Now a "field school" in the old days was not 
in a field at all, but was in a forest. After many crops of 
cotton had exhausted the soil the fences were taken away 
and the land became waste. In short order vigorous young 
pines shoot up and soon the land is covered with a thick 
growth of wood. About this time an itinerant school 
teacher, ever on the lookout for just such a site as this, 
arrives in the community, and he canvasses the farm 
houses to find how many pupils he can corral if he should 
build a shanty in the forest for a school. If the number is 
satisfactory, the school teacher sets to work with the 
lumber that the farmers have contributed, and builds a 

In the Fall when there is bite in the air the school- 
master will plug the cracks between the boards with red 
clay to keep out the wind and the cold, and a wood stove 
at the far end of the room will do the rest, or at least 
try. These were among the first school houses in America, 
and, although reading, writing and arithmetic were all the 
branches taught in that early day, the schools seem to 
have done fairly well, judging by many examples of their 
hardy product. 

So here is Andy among a crowd of boys seated on a 
slab bench. He is tall, slender, bright blue eyed, freckled 
face and thick sandy hair that is cheating the scissors. His 



feet are bare and his scant home-spun garments are 
coarser than those of other boys. Mrs. Jackson tries to 
impress upon Andy that he must be "a. learner." In her 
mind she has mapped out his career. She wants him to 
be a Presbyterian clergyman. Andy winces but says noth- 
ing. That's a fine note ! If he is to be a clergyman he must 
get a running start by being good now, which means that 
he must not fight ; and Andy, while he does not especially 
look for trouble, sees a lot of it lying about. 

He soon outgrows the ''field school," and is sent to 
another given the grand title of Academy, in the Waxhaw 
Settlement. This school is a large log cabin, and is pre- 
sided over by a kindly dominie. Doctor Humphries, who 
in his crude way attempts to teach the languages and 
prepare his pupils for college and the ministry. ''Sandy 
Andy," as some of the boys came to call him, never got a 
headache from studying his lessons. There is nothing to 
show that he shirked them, but he fastened his atten- 
tion more upon the pine knot fires blazing in the forests 
at night, and listened, fascinated and held in thrall, to the 
tall talk among men about Indian battles and the shooting 
of deer and wild turkeys in the wilderness. 

There is a tradition that young Jackson later attended 
Queen's College in Charlotte, and this is supported by the 
story that many years later a delegation of Charlotte 
business men and farmers went to Washington to plead 
with Congress to establish a mint in their region. They 
said gold had been found in the hills. The delegation ap- 
peared before President Jackson, and one of their num- 
ber told the President that gold had been found in the 
very hill on which Queen's College had stood. "Then 



it must have grown since I went to school there, for there 
was no gold there then," replied the President. It was 
this remark that laid the foundation for the belief that 
Jackson attended school in Charlotte. It is supported by 
no other evidence. 

Andy Jackson was a wild, frolicsome, wilful, daring 
and mischievous boy; generous to a friend and a holy 
terror to an enemy. He simply would not believe there 
lived a boy stronger than he, nor one who could defeat 
him in quick thinking, or with fists or feet. There were 
plenty of boys who could throw Andy in a wrestHng 
match and did so, but Andy was on his feet again in a 
flash, his arms and legs wrapped around the body of his 

*T could throw him three times out of four," one of 
his schoolmates used to say, "but he would never stay 
throwed. He was dead game and never zvoiild give up." 
There would be plenty of men in later years who could 
give similar testimony of battles that they had had to 
fight out with Andrew Jackson. Men, like the boys, found 
he would never ''stay throwed." 

At Doctor Humphries's Academy, Andy Jackson would 
leave no particular mark by which to remember his pres- 
ence there. The son of one of his schoolmates would 
testify many, many years later that he had heard his 
father speak of Jackson's "commendable progress in his 
studies, of his ardent and rather quick temperament, and 
was remarkably athletic." 

Others would testify about you, Andy Jackson, that 
to younger boys your mastery was never questioned, that 
you were a generous protector, and that equals and su- 



periors alike would say that you were over-bearing, self- 
willed, would listen to no reason that did not square with 
your own. They would say you were ^'difficult to get 
along with," that you were extremely sensitive and easily 
offended, and that you were the only bully they ever saw 
who was not also a coward. 

Most of them took into account that Andy Jackson 
had a rather special cause for much of his irritation. He 
was afflicted with a childhood disease that manifested it- 
self in "slobbering." Woe to the boy who made a jest of 
that. He would not escape with his hide intact. In later 
years none save would-be suicides would mention the 
word "adultery" in the presence of Andrew Jackson. 
There was special reason for that irritation, which we 
shall examine later. 

One day after school a group of boys gather around 
Andy and hand him a gun which they have secretly loaded 
to the muzzle. They want to have the pleasure of seeing 
him fire it and at the same time have it kick him over 
by the power of the discharge. Well, the pleasure is all 
theirs for the nonce. Andy tumbles heels over head, but 
he is on his feet in a flash — a tempest of passion — and his 
eyes are blazing orbits of hate. 

"By God! If one of you laughs I'll kill him!" he roars. 
None laughs, and they every one slink away. He was a 
swearing boy and a swearing man. There is none who 
could hold a candle to his matchless art in combin- 
ing oaths in chain-shot fluency and force. His combina- 
tions were among the most picturesque ever known 
on the frontier, or, for that matter, in the White 



One afternoon the rain comes down in torrents, and 
Andy does not go out to play. Instead he has a debate 
with one of his numerous uncles on the subject of "What 
makes a Gentleman?" Andrew says "Education." The 
uncle says "Good Principles." Neither would yield his 
ground, so the question was never settled. 

What does Andrew Jackson learn at this school? In 
truth, very little. He learned to read, and to write, and 
to do simple arithmetic. He had a smattering of Latin. 
He never wrote correct English unless he was so angry 
that the proper words poured from him in a torrent and 
he was innocent of their correct usage. At such times he 
could deliver a veritable flood of vehement eloquence 
upon paper, and so rapidly that his manuscript would be 
wet two or three pages behind. 

Andy Jackson was an atrocious speller. Not one single 
public paper or document, or speech that bears his name 
reached the public exactly as he wrote it. He was unable 
to compose his papers grammatically, but he had the 
good sense to surround himself with competent aids and 
secretaries who could do so. Some of the most striking 
paragraphs in his state papers and speeches that have 
lived for nearly a century, and which are considered 
peculiarly Jacksonian, Jackson never wrote. He would 
write the first draft, and his aids would do the rest. They 
became Jacksonian; they expressed his mind on the sub- 
ject dealt w^ith, and if they did not do so, they were re- 
written until they did express it perfectly. 

It is not strange that Jackson was a bad speller and 



composer. Noah Webster, the greatest of American lexi- 
cographers, did not publish his dictionary until 1828. 
Even his ''New and Accurate Standard of Pronuncia- 
tion" was not available until 1784 (long after Andrew 
had ''completed" his school years), and Webster's popu- 
lar "Spelling Book" did not appear until 1785. The 
provincial schools, if they used a dictionary as the basis 
for grammar, very probably used Doctor Johnson's dic- 
tionary, which appeared in 1755 and was in common 
usage until 1782. 

In the year 1776 an astonishing document was drafted 
and signed in Philadelphia. It was called the Declaration 
of Independence. Andrew Jackson was nine years old. 
In a little while he would know to whom that solemn 
paper was addressed and what it meant. The talk in the 
colonies was not quite so tall now. War was upon them. 



Chapter 111 

TAKE the average boy, aged thirteen, and let him 
participate in a revolutionary war against a foreign 
enemy in his own home town, where his mother, many 
of his relatives, his neighbors, and boy friends and foes, 
may see him fighting, suffering and dying (the latter in 
his mind), and you will equip him with a high-powered 
imagination of his own resources and importance, and im- 
plant in him a view of life that things worth while may 
be attained only with the pistol and the sword, and that 
all his adversaries of whatever nature are to be sum- 
marily dispatched. This false view may very readily twist 
and color his attitude toward people and events for the 
rest of his life. At least we may surmise it was so in the 
case of Andrew Jackson. 

In the early Spring of 1780 nearly all the American 
troops in South Carolina were concentrated in the city 
of Charleston, and, when the place was taken with its 
defenders on May 12, the people were at the mercy of 
the British. Wherever the defenders attempted to make a 
stand, bands of Red-coats and Tories were upon them. The 
British were not more savage than engaged soldiers have 
ever been anywhere, but when the relentless Tarleton, 



leading his Dragoons along the red roads of the Waxhaws, 
descended upon the peaceful settlement, butchering the 
little American militia and ravaging the homes of the set- 
tlers, the Americans may well have thought that the Brit- 
ish were devils incarnate. 

Andrew's elder brother Hugh had not waited for the 
war to knock angrily upon his gate. A tall, slender, sensi- 
tive fellow, like all the Jackson men, he had mounted his 
horse the year before and joined the famous regiment of 
Colonel Davie. Hugh fought in the ranks at the Battle of 
Stono, and gave his life for freedom. 

It is May 29, 1780. Tarleton, the British commander 
in the Carolinas, decides to pursue to the death all Amer- 
ican defenders in his sector. No doubt he directs his at- 
tention to the Waxhaw Settlement because he knows 
there dwells in this region a number of people recently 
arrived from British dominions. The punishment to be 
meted out to them will be more severe than in the case of 
native Americans. 

Three hundred British horsemen swoop down upon the 
little community like a pack of hungry hyenas, killing 
one hundred and thirteen militiamen and wounding one 
hundred and fifty. Delighted with his masterpiece, Tarle- 
ton and his Dragoons gallop away into the hills, leaving 
the wounded to the care of the settlers. Betty Jackson, 
the loss of her eldest boy still fresh in her mind, joins a 
group of Waxhaw women in ministering to the needs of 
the wounded in the Waxhaw church. 

Andrew Jackson and his brother Robert assist their 
mother in waiting upon the sick troopers. Under the roof 
of the church, by his mother's side, Andy first sees what 



war is like. He does not recoil from what he sees, but in- 
stead he burns with livid hatred of England, and in rage 
he yearns to shoulder a musket and go forth to battle 
to avenge the wounds of his neighbors and his brother's 

No sooner has Tarleton and his horsemen thundered 
down the red roads, leaving a fretful peace to settle over 
the community like a lull in a summer storm, than there 
are rumors that Lord Rawdon, heading a large body 
of Royal troops, is approaching. He demands of every 
one a promise not to take part in the war hereafter. 
Betty Jackson, her boys, and the Crawfords are among 
those who refuse to subscribe to any such pledge, es- 
pecially as it entails loyalty to King George. There are 
many Americans who will subscribe to this pledge, but 
they are mostly those who have large amounts of prop- 

Some are fearful the Americans will lose the war and 
they, as a consequence, will lose their property. Others, 
though Americans, are more or less frankly Anglophiles. 
Washington, himself a man of means and the owner of 
a capacious estate, knows that the propertyless class make 
up the bulk of his armies. They have ever so much less 
to lose, and possibly ever so much more to gain should 
independence of America be achieved. 

As a result of Lord Rawdon^s threat, the Jacksons, in 
company with others, abandon their home and flee to 
the hills. Several times they attempt to re-establish them- 
selves in Waxhaw only to be put to flight again by the 



approaching enemy. Tarleton's massacre has kindled the 
flames of war in all the Carolinas. 

At last Andy Jackson and his brother Robert, who is 
a few years his senior, have their chance. They mount 
horses and are present at Sumpter's attack upon the 
British post at Hanging Rock, where the defenders lost 
their chance to score a briliant victory by beginning too 
soon to drink the rum they had captured from their foe. 
Andy carefully observes the movements of the troops. 
His eyes scarcely leave the figure of Colonel Davie, a 
brave and audacious soldier, who, more than any other, 
was to become Andrew Jackson's model in the art of 
war. Davie was bold in planning enterprises and cautious 
in the execution of them. He was ever vigilant and un- 
tiringly active. Andy, many years later, will put into 
practise what he now learns from watching Colonel Davie 
perform in the War for Independence. 

It is the middle of August and General Gates has been 
defeated by Cornwallis. It is the great disaster of the 
war in the South. Cornwallis now moves his army toward 
the Waxhaws, and once more Betty Jackson and the boys 
take flight to the North. 

Betty Jackson directs Andrew to the home of the Wil- 
sons, who live a little above Charlotte. She finds refuge 
for herself and Robert elsewhere. It is understood that 
Andy will ''pay" for his board by doing chores about 
the farm and the house. He is supposed to bring in 
wood, pull fodder, pick beans, drive cattle and go to the 
blacksmith shop when the farming utensils require mend- 
ing. There is a boy in the Wilson home who is about the 
age of Andrew and often they play and walk together. 



Andy's playmate some day will be a preacher in the com- 
munity, and already he is shocked by the torrent of strong 
language that Andy frequently uses to express what he 
thinks and feels about the Red-coats. 

Andy enjoys hopping upon his grass pony for a ride up 
to the mill. Rarely does he return from the shops without 
bringing some new weapon with which to kill. He has 
accumulated quite a collection of spears, terrible looking 
knives, clubs and tomahawks. But the one he likes the 
best is the blade of a scythe fastened to a pole. One day 
he assaults the weeds around the house with extreme 
fury, making long vigorous strokes with his scythe. 
Young Wilson hears him say: 

**Oh, if I were a man, how I would sweep down the 
British with my grass blade !" 

Andrew is to remain at the Wilson home over the 
winter and until early Spring. In February, 1781, peace 
again rules in the Waxhaws because the settlement has 
been subdued. The Jacksons creep back to their home 
with the Craw fords, and for a time it seems that An- 
drew may be able to resume his lessons. But this is not 
to be. The great battles of the Revolution are over, but 
in many of the states, particularly in the South, neighbor- 
hood warfare flames up at the slightest provocation. 
Brother against brother. Father against son. The country 
is by no means united behind General Washington, al- 
though complete victory for the Independence Cause is 
only a few months off. 

Nor is it to be supposed that the man-power of the 
states has rushed to the standards of the Revolution. In 



one or two of the southern states men had to be bribed 
to go to war with offers of land grants. There are other 
instances recorded of some men being promised the owner- 
ship of one Negro slave, or sixty dollars, his equivalent, 
if they would take up arms in behalf of freedom. The 
"glittering generalities" of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, as some historians have described that remark- 
able document, were often far more impressive among 
the merchant and land-owning classes, who would not 
have to do the fighting, than among the back-country folk 
who were supposed to do it. Thus, we have many pic- 
tures and stories of small boys shouldering men's guns 
in the Revolutionary War. 

Andrew and Robert, although they have not attached 
themselves to any particular regiment, have frequently ac- 
companied small bands of soldiers that march forth in 
enterprises of retaliation. In this manner they have "par- 
ticipated" in the Revolution, but now they are to play 
a more active part in that bloody tableau. 

The continued activity of the Whigs in the Waxhaws 
has reached the ears of Lord Rawdon, and, as he has been 
left in command of that sector by Cornwallis, he is de- 
termined to clear the community if possible of the last 
vestige of rebellion against the Crown, this despite the 
fact that the Crown, so far as it relates to America, is 
a relic ready for the museums and the history books. 
Lord Rawdon dispatches a body of Dragoons to aid the 
Tories in the region of the Waxhaws, and the settlers, 



hearing of this, are determined to make a stand against 
the British troops, clad in scarlet tunics, their carbines 
flashing in the sunlight. 

The Waxhaw Meeting House has been chosen as the 
rendezvous, and forty men are armed, awaiting the com- 
ing of the storm. Andrew Jackson and his brother Robert 
are in this gallant group. Andy can scarcely keep his fore- 
finger off the trigger. He runs his nimble fingers down 
the barrel of the gun, and impatiently awaits his prey. In 
the grove surrounding the old church the forty Americans 
watch for sight of the Red-coats, and while they wait 
for the enemy they scour the landscape for some sign of 
another company of Whigs from a nearby settlement that 
is supposed to join them. 

Rawdon hears of the rendezvous at the church. He has 
been apprised by a Tory. He has heard also of a second 
company of reinforcements, so he dresses a group of his 
men in the garb of the community and sends them ahead 
of his company. The Waxhaw defenders see a company 
of armed men approaching, but they conclude that these 
are their friends and they lay aside their guns. It is too 
late to discover their error. The Red-coats are upon 
them and there is slaughter in the old churchyard. Those 
lucky enough to escape the flashing carbines flee in all 
directions and are hotly pursued by the Dragoons. 

Andrew spurs his horse and is gone into the thicket. 
He rides for dear life, every minute turning his head 
to see how closely the dragoon pursues him. He comes 
to a wide slough of water and mire and plunges his horse 
into it, flounders across and reaches dry land. In the 
course of the day he is re-united with his brother and 



that night they lie down in the forest to sleep, their 
muskets beside them, like two veterans — these boys. In 
the morning they are awake early, still weary, their bones 
aching, and very hungry. The nearest house is that of 
Lieutenant Crawford, Andrew's cousin, and they make 
toward it at double quick time. A Tory informer discovers 
their hiding place and apprises the Dragoons, who come 
galloping toward the house, surround it and capture 
Andrew and Robert. 


The British troopers proceed to stage a scene which 
would leave its impress upon the mind of Andrew Jack- 
son for the remainder of his life. Perhaps much of his 
tempestuous disposition, his frequent vengeful spirit, his 
deep and abiding hatred of Great Britain, and his mani- 
festations of bitterness and relentlessness that character- 
ized his own generalship in several warfares that he was 
destined to command later on — perhaps much of all this 
was traceable to the needless brutality of the King's 
soldiers when they raided and ransacked the home of a 
woman, whose husband had been wounded, in order to 
arrest two young boys of the Revolution. 

The Red-coats tore the family clothing to shreds ; they 
broke the crockery, upset beds, dashed the furniture to 
pieces, including a baby's crib. Adding insult to injury, 
a British officer bawls at Andrew to clean his boots. Andy 
Jackson stiffens his back and refuses point blank. 

*'Sir, I am a prisoner of war, and claim to be treated as 
such," he says. 

The officer raises his sword and is about to bring it 



down upon Andrew's head when the boy parries the blow 
with his left hand and receives a deep gash that he will 
carry to his grave. The officer next turns to Robert and 
orders him to clean his boots, and Robert also refuses. 
Again the sword is raised and this time it falls full force 
upon Robert's head. Britain will make more blunders than 
this in the years to come, but not always will they be made 
in the presence of a boy who one day will avenge Eng- 
land's cruelty with interest. 

The Britons decide that while they are in the neighbor- 
hood they will hunt down another troublesome Whig, 
named Thompson. They discover that Andy knows where 
Thompson lives, so they command him to mount his horse 
and direct them to Thompson's home, threatening him 
with death if he fails to guide them aright. Andy leads 
the party in the right direction, but suddenly he remem- 
bers there is another road by which the house can be 
reached. Should the occupants of the Thompson house 
be looking toward that road they could see if anyone 
were approaching half a mile away. He knew if Thomp- 
son were at home, someone would be on the lookout as 
a sentinel, and also Thompson's horse would be standing 
nearby, ready for flight. 

As the party approaches, Andy sees Thompson's horse 
tied to a porch pillar, so he knows the hunted Whig is 
within. The Dragoons are gaining speed and are about 
to rush upon their man when suddenly Thompson springs 
from the house, mounts his horse and fords a swollen 
stream, shouting defiance at his pursuers as he touches 
land on the other side and gallops away into the woods. 
So Httle Andy Jackson, by using his wits, is actually the 



liberator of the Carolina patriot instead of the instru- 
ment for his capture. 

The time has arrived for the British troops to dispose 
of their troublesome captives, and what better w^ay than 
to throw them all into prison? Andrew and Robert and 
Lieutenant Thomas Crawford, each of them wounded, 
are placed among twenty others captured in the Waxhaw 
battle, and all are made to march forty miles to Camden, 
South Carolina, where the King's troops have long had 
a great depot. None is permitted a morsel of food nor 
a drop of water during the entire journey. The wounded 
ones who stumble are often struck by officers. We may be 
sure Andrew Jackson is taking mental note of this ex- 
cursion into misery. He will have occasion later on to 
refer to it. How could those British troopers, serving a 
stupid King three thousand miles away, know what is 
being etched in the mind of a boy who soon will be thrown 
into prison? 

The Waxhaw captives find two hundred and fifty pris- 
oners concentrated in an enclosure drawn around the 
jail. There are no beds, no medical attendants to care for 
the wounded, not even medicine. The men are gaunt, yel- 
low, already the victims of scurvy, and disease is rampant 
in the colony of captives. Their only food is a scant supply 
of miserable bread. Part of the clothing of each has been 
taken away, the purpose of this probably being to further 
humiliate each victim in the eyes of the rest. 

Andrew and Robert and Crawford, their cousin, are 
separated once their kinship is known. Robbed of his 
jacket and his shoes, knowing nothing of the fate that 
has befallen his brother, who suffers a terrible gash upon 



his head that already has become infected, Andy sits alone 
most of the time, unspeakable hatred for his captors, their 
country and its cause welling up within him with the pass- 
ing of each moment. He would, if he could, tear the Red- 
coats limb from limb. 

Small-pox has broken out among the prisoners. This 
dread disease, unchecked by medical supervision of any 
kind, spreads rapidly. Andy has thus far managed to es- 
cape the contagion, but he does not know the fate of his 


There is a report in the prison camp that General 
Greene is leading a little army to Hobkirk's Hill. He is 
coming to deliver the American prisoners from their 
misery. Even the sick and the dying take heart. For six 
days Greene's army is bivouacked upon the Hill. Andy 
sees the whole layout from a knot-hole. Lord Rawdon has 
decided that despite the inferiority of his numbers he will 
attack the American forces before they have time to 
bring up artillery. Word flies into the prison that next 
morning Rawdon will attack! The result of this battle 
will decide the fate of the prisoners as well as that of 
either of the contending forces. 

During the night Andy hacks a larger hole in the fence 
that he may have a better view of the battle which will 
take place less than a mile away, upon the eminence of 
Hobkirk's Hill. Dawn finds Andy at his post behind the 
high board fence. His eye sweeps the countryside and he 
sees the ragged American troops — there are only twelve 
hundred of them — scattered over the field. Some appear 



to be washing their clothes ; others are jumping about as 
though they are at play. This is a mighty funny way, 
thinks Andrew Jackson, aged fourteen years, for men to 
behave on the eve of battle! Rawdon leads his nine hun- 
dred men out to attack. This is the least that Greene had 
expected, for he supposed the British now were trembling 
for their safety. 

Rawdon closes in upon the Americans, who are taken 
by complete surprise. Andy sees them rush for their arms. 
He reports the battle to the files of ragged prisoners press- 
ing around him. American horses are dashing riderless 
over the field. The Americans are in retreat! They are 
rushing madly over the top of the hill, the Red-coats, 
their tunics marking them less than a mile away in the 
April sun, are in hot pursuit. Tiers of smoke rise above 
the field and float serenely away. General Greene's army 
is defeated, and Andy Jackson knows why. That is his 
second lesson in the art of war. He will profit by it, too, 
some day. 

Andy begins to develop the first symptoms of small- 
pox. He is sick and burns with fever. Robert's condition 
is even more pitiable. The deep wound in his head has 
never been dressed, and he, too, is desperately ill from 
the first signs that announce the dread disease. 

Betty Jackson has not rested for one minute from her 
efforts to effect the release of her boys at Camden. Finally 
she succeeds in arranging for an exchange of prisoners. 
She gasps with horror as she gazes upon the wasted 
bodies of her boys. Robert is the worse off. He cannot 



stand, nor can he sit in the saddle without support. Betty 
Jackson has two horses. She hfts Robert upon one horse 
and mounts the other herself. The horses are reined closely 
and the mother holds Robert in his seat, while Andy, 
himself burning with fever, emaciated, worn, weary and 
ragged, trudges behind. They have forty miles to cover 
before they are back again in their home at Waxhaw. 

Suddenly a storm comes up when they are within two 
miles of the journey's end, and all are drenched. Their 
small-pox now reaches the stage of development. The 
boys arrive home at last and at once go to bed. How good 
it feels to stretch out once more between clean sheets. 
Betty Jackson bends over first one bed and then the 

In two days she ceases to bend over Robert. He is dead ! 
And Andrew has gone stark mad! The disease raging 
in his body and about to break out in horrible sores, plus 
his suffering in the Camden stockade, and his bitter men- 
tal reaction to it, have thrown his mind into chaos. His 
condition is perilous, as Betty well knows. She buries 
one of her boys in the Waxhaw churchyard beside the 
body of his father, and turns her attention to saving the 
life of one surviving son. The War for Independence is 
costly for Betty Jackson. 

Andrew recovers very slowly. For many months he 
will be an invalid. Forever during his lifetime he will 
suffer unconsciously from the horror of those eternities 
of days and nights in that loathsome prison. He will be 
the author of terrible cruelties, and vengeful punish- 
ments himself in after years, but he will be unaware of 



much of this, like a tiger oblivious of its fangs and claws, 
deaf to its own roar, and the power of its blow. 

It is now summer in the year 1781. The summer smiles 
upon the Carolina fields and woods, and flowers, whose 
roots are warm and firm with the rich blood of men to 
nourish them, shoot out in a spray of multi-colored 
beauty. Up from the prison ships at Charleston comes a 
cry of anguish. Many of the prisoners are the kindred of 
Betty Jackson and her relatives. Others are neighbors' 
sons, brothers and fathers. Andrew seems to be on the 
road to recovery now, and Betty can leave him and join a 
band of Waxhaw women bound on an errand of mercy, 
to effect, if possible, the release of these Americans. 

The women pack their saddle bags with whatever 
they think will mitigate the suffering of the captives. 
They start out upon the journey — it is one hundred and 
sixty miles — and at night they must find shelter some- 
how, for the trip cannot be covered in a day. 

Andy, at home in the Waxhaw Settlement, waits anx- 
iously for news from his mother. He wonders if she has 
arrived at Charleston safely, and he wonders especially 
if she has effected the release of the prisoners. In a little 
while — a matter of a few weeks — a man on horseback 
gallops up to the house where Andy is staying. He hands 
Andy a bundle which the boy tears open. It is his mother's 
clothing, the extra garments she had taken along. 

Betty Jackson is dead, a victim of the ship fever which 
she had caught shortly after she began her ministrations 



to the sick and wounded men aboard the British prison 
ship. They bury her body in an open field nearby, and 
none will ever know in the years to come, not even her 
son, where she is buried. Many years later, when he has 
become President of the United States, he will set afoot 
a special inquiry in South Carolina in an effort to locate 
the spot where his mother is buried, that he might re- 
move her bones to the old Waxhaw Cemetery, and there 
place above the graves of his parents a suitable marker. 
But he shall never have this privilege. 

Andy Jackson's feelings at this moment are divided 
between his grief over the death of his mother and two 
brothers and his own pitiable condition, which he is com- 
petent to realize is desperate enough. He is borne down 
by the fact that he is an orphan, and made so by the 
Revolution. The conditions are desperate in the extreme 
now, but in later years these same circumstances will 
operate in his favor, for they will be used with telling 
effect in three Presidential campaigns, and in two of them 
he shall be triumphant. 

Andy Jackson loved his mother deeply. He had had oc- 
casion to study her virtues and to become acquainted with 
her sublime courage, both in home-making in the wilder- 
ness and while within range of British guns. Often in 
the days of his future greatness, he would clinch a point 
by saying, ''That I learned from my good old mother.'* 

On another occasion, he would say this : 

''One of the last injunctions given me by her, was never 
to institute a suit for assault and battery, or for defama- 
tion; never to wound the feelings of others, nor suffer 
my own to be outraged; these were her words of ad- 



monition to me. I remember them well, and have never 
failed to respect them. My settled course through life 
has been to bear them in mind, and never to insult or 
wantonly to assail the feelings of anyone. Yet, many 
conceive me to be a most ferocious animal, insensible to 
moral duty, and regardless of the laws both of God and 

Well, Andrew Jackson in the tides ahead would give 
many individuals, and nations, too, for that matter, 
plenty of cause to think of him as '*a most ferocious 

When Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on October 
19, 1 78 1, Andy had not passed his fifteenth birthday. 
One or two southern towns will remain awhile in the 
enemy's hands, but the War for Independence in effect 
is over, North and South. 

The Cause has been won. Andy Jackson faces the world 


Chapter IV 

r o r K s 

THERE are whisperings among the numerous rela- 
tives of Betty Jackson in the Waxhaws. Each of 
them hopes that Andrew, the orphan, will not knock at 
their gate to seek permanent shelter. None seems to want 
the responsibility for training this sandy-haired lad, who 
is shooting up so rapidly that even now he is as tall as 
his mother was. 

Well, the aunts and uncles of Andrew do not have to 
worry, for he will not bother them ; but just the same, they 
will shake their heads and they will predict many a time 
in the years to come that Andrew is headed for no good 
end. Perhaps they are right, for he is headed toward the 

Some historians a century later will say that Andrew 
returned to his studies after the war and 'Revised the 
languages," but down in the Waxhaws everyone knows 
that he indulges in all modes of sportive feats — gambling, 
drinking a little, horse racing and cock fighting. Precious 
little studying Andrew does these days. Being alone in 
the world makes him feel a trifle like a martyr, and he 
trades somewhat on this by affecting a little swagger in 



his stride, a slight abruptness or irritabiHty in his speech, 
Hke one having a chip on his shoulder. He was behaving 
thus while living for a short time in the house of Major 
Thomas Crawford, where Captain Galbraith, former 
commissary in the Revolutionary War, also lived. An- 
drew's swagger was too much for the Captain, and one 
day he undertakes to chastise Andrew. A torrent of hot 
words in self-defence streams from Andrew, and the 
Captain raises his arm to strike. 

Andrew warns the officer that before striking he had 
better prepare for eternity; the astonished Captain, star- 
ing into the blazing eyes of the aroused young panther 
before him, thinks better of his cause, and drops his 
arm. Andrew gathers his few articles of clothing and 
departs from the house, triumphant. He has conquered 
his first real opponent by standing up to him with sheer 
courage — and a former Captain in the Revolutionary 
Army at that. 

For six months he works in a saddler's shop and seems 
to be in a fair way of learning a trade, but the presence 
of many young blades in the Waxhaws — sons of wealthy 
and socially prominent persons of Charleston, who are 
awaiting the evacuation of their city — diverts Andrew's 
attention and he participates in the sportive feats. He has 
made up his mind that if he cannot compete with youths 
on the basis of wealth and social position, he can at least 
do so by going further than they in matters requiring 
grit and daring. He knew well enough that whatever he 
was to win would come to him only by the force of his 
own willing. So that in December, 1782, Charleston hav- 
ing been evacuated, causing his companions to accompany 



their families back home, Andrew, finding life very dull 
and lonely in the saddler's shop, decides to follow them 
to the city. He mounts his horse, and is gone. 

Every boy and man in this region has a horse. He 
may have nothing else — neither home nor presentable 
clothing, nor money in the pocket — but a steed he must 
possess. Without it, he might just as well be legless, for 
it is impossible to cover these often trackless distances 
without a horse. Although Andrew's many relatives have 
come to regard him as the family ''black sheep," they have 
at least provided him with the necessary means of re- 
lieving them of his further presence in the community, if 
he so wills. They give him a horse. 

One evening in Charleston, Andrew strolls into a 
tavern, looking for his cronies. He sees a game of dice 
in progress and glides toward the table. He is challenged 
to a game. He stands to win two hundred dollars or lose 
the fine horse tethered to the rack outside. Andrew rolls 
the dice and wins, and for the first time in his life he 
has more money than his father had ever possessed in 
cash at one time. Wise Andrew settles his debts in Charles- 
ton and departs in the morning for the scenes of his 

Many years later someone will recall this incident to 
the President, and he will say: "My calculation was that, 
if a loser in the game, I would give the landlord my 
saddle and bridle, as far as they would go toward the 
payment of his bill, ask a credit for the balance, and walk 
away from the city. But being successful, I had new 



spirits infused into me, left the table, and from that mo- 
ment to the present I have never thrown dice for a wager." 

For two years Andrew teaches school — a field school 
— in the Waxhaws; but virtually anybody can be a tutor 
in this settlement if he has the hardihood to build his 
own school and then canvass the community for pupils. 
None will ever know how little he knows, and the pupils, 
knowing nothing, may learn a little of something. 

It is April, 1783, and peace with England is formally 
proclaimed. The peace comes as a boon to the legal pro- 
fession, as the Tory lawyers are to be excluded, and many 
new causes at bar are to be created for the Whig lawyers, 
who foresee a lucrative practice for many future years. 
Also, public careers will inevitably follow the curve of 
bar and bench. Foresighted young men of the victorious 
party see their chance and seize upon it. Old line Whig 
lawyers are to be swamped with students, and among 
these appears Andrew Jackson. 

In the Winter of 1784, Andrew draws up his mount 
at the gate of Colonel Waightsill Avery, one of the most 
noted attorneys in the Carolinas at this time, and the 
owner of one of the best law libraries in this part of the 
country. Andrew has come one hundred and thirty-five 
miles from the Waxhaws to Morganton, North Carolina, 
where Colonel Avery lives in a log cabin, to seek a master 
in the law. Colonel Avery finds it inconvenient to take 
the young man into his home as a boarder, and into his 
office as a student; so Andrew adjusts his saddle bags, 
mounts his horse and gallops back to Salisbury. He enters 
the office of Spruce McCay, a lawyer of local eminence, 
and finds two other students — one Crawford and Mc- 



Nairy — already installed in the business of copying let- 
ters and briefs, running errands and reading law. Andrew 
is permitted to join them, and thus is he ensconced as a 
student at law in Salisbury where he is to acquire local 
fame as a rowdy and a rake that will not down even 
after he has reached the White House. In fact, some of 
his actions at Washington will tend to confirm the tales 
now being whispered about him in Salisbury. 

Reading the accounts of these escapades one might be 
led to suppose that the student followed a dissolute path 
and neglected his studies for horse racing, cock fighting, 
parties of a dubious character and too frequent drinking 
bouts. It appears that nearly all these episodes have been 
exaggerated in the interest of making them serve as a 
colorful, roystering background of a backwoods scape- 
grace, so that the portrait of the Indian head-hunter, the 
General at New Orleans, and the spitfire President might 
be the better embellished and embroidered with these 
student affairs. It was all a new and wild country in which 
Andrew grew up, but the boys that watched and had a 
part in the business of pushing civilization westward 
through the wilderness were not less nor more fun- 
making and mischievous than are the youngsters to- 

Salisbury, the capital of Rowan County, was an old 
American town when the Revolution began. When Jack- 
son lived there and studied law there were one or two 
taverns, notably Rowan's House, where Jackson boarded 
with his fellow students — Crawford and McNairy, — a 
couple of churches, perhaps twenty village houses, half 
a dozen mansions, and another score of shanties occupied 



by Negroes who worked in the fields, and white farm 
hands. PubHc wells were in the middle of the streets, 
shaded by sheds that also exhibited wheels and buckets 
necessary to draw water. Trees formed an archway for 
these red dirt streets, over which heavy covered wagons, 
coming to and from the markets, rumbled along. 

Lawyer McCay's office, where Andrew is at work, is 
a small box-like affair. It appears to be a cross between 
a hen-house and a Negro cabin, and the floor is littered 
with documents, books and pamphlets. Behind this office 
stands the McCay mansion, and when the three students 
hear the porch door slam shut, followed by the thumping 
of a cane to the accompaniment of heavy steps on the 
dirt path, they know Old Man McCay is coming, and 
they bury their noses in the books. Down the street is 
the Rowan House, a rambling affair composed of many 
buildings, with huge fireplaces, high mantels, low ceilings 
that reveal great hand-hewn timbers. 


Andrew will leave traces of himself in this old tavern 
that will survive for many a day after he has pushed 
over the mountains, into the heart of the Indian country, 
and carved for himself a place in history. But just now 
the people are saying, ''Andrew Jackson is the most roar- 
ing, rollicking, game-cocking, horse-racing, card-playing 
mischievous fellow that ever lived in Salisbury." Another 
adds, *'he does not trouble the law books much." Still 
another says, ''he is more in the stables than in the of- 
fice"; and, finally, forty years later, in 1824, when he is 
makmg his first race for the Presidency, a woman back 



in Salisbury will remember the tall, slender, roystering 
fellow, and she will say: ''What! Jackson up for Presi- 
dent? Andrew Jackson? Why, when he was here he was 
such a rake that my husband would not bring him into 
the house. He might have taken him out to the stable to 
weigh horses for a race, and he might have taken a glass 
of whisky with him. Well, if Andrew Jackson can be 
President, anybody can !" 

There will be plenty of reason for this exclamation. 
Andrew's landlord at the tavern might be able to add a 
few anecdotes merely by referring to his account book, 
for the record shows that Andrew has been living at the 
tavern on 'Velvet." He has won handsomely from his 
landlord at card-playing and betting on the races. 

But this is not all. Respectable ladies of Salisbury will 
no longer speak to Andrew, for they blush, or at least 
so pretend, in recalling how he outraged Respectability, 
Decorum and Decency, by bringing to a Christmas ball 
his mistress, when he himself was invited only because 
he happened to be a law student and the chum of one 
or two young men whose social position entitled them 
to an invitation. 

In truth, the very Respectability and Pretentiousness 
of the Christmas ball amuses Andrew, and he decides to 
play a practical joke on the ladies. As he has gotten him- 
self on the committee of managers for the ball, he sends 
an invitation to two of the most dissolute women in 
Rowan County — Molly and Rachel Wood, mother and 

The bedizened ladies of sportive nocturnes appear in 
due course, and Andrew, drawing himself into a secluded 



corner, gleefully watches the other ladies of proper posi- 
tion withdraw to one side, seeming to shield their em- 
barrassment behind gasps and giggles, and being greatly 
relieved when someone undertakes the mission of of- 
ficial bouncer and sternly escorts Molly and Rachel to 
the door, leaving them to sulk amid the quiet orders of 
the night. 

Despite all this tomfoolery, and much more besides, 
the fact remains that Andrew is applying himself to his 
books, no matter what Salisbury may say or think. Of 
course he will never become in any proper sense a lawyer ; 
he will never have the profound legal knowledge of Henry 
Clay or Daniel Webster, but he will give those gifted 
gentlemen enough to worry about in the days ahead that 
may cause them to ardently wish he knew much less 
than the ever so little that he already knows about the 
law and its reaches. For the truth of the matter is this : 
Andrew is diligently picking up all the knowledge of 
the law that is available to him, and if there were more 
he would possess himself of it. He shall know all there 
is to be known about anything — at least all that he thinks 
is worth knowing; dismissing all the rest as ''immaterial 
and irrelevant." 

He will acknowledge but two colors in life, and they 
shall be white and black. All who think as he thinks, and 
who uphold and indorse his every act, he will count as 
white; and all who oppose him in thought or action, 
may the Lord have mercy upon them, for Andrew Jack- 
son shall call them black. 

Andrew completes his preparation for admission to 
the bar in the office of Colonel John Stokes, a soldier in 



the Revolution, from whom Stokes County, North Caro- 
lina, takes its name. 


In the Spring of 1787, Andrew is twenty years old, 
and he has won his license to practice in the courts of 
North Carolina. This he has accomplished in two years. 
He stands six feet one inch in his stockings, and is 
unusually slender for his great height. Also, he is re- 
markably erect and carries himself with an easy grace. 
He was to the saddle born, and the young men of his 
circle and sphere count him as their chief and model. 
Andrew already has become conscious of his power 
over groups of people. 

There is about him an irresistible quality of forth- 
rightness, physical courage of the first order, and a sense 
of justice that is almost ferocious where injustice is done. 
He is the walking delegate of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence and the spirit incarnate of the Fourth of July. 

On the side of philosophy, and the quiet, dreamy un- 
dertones of life that a man comes to as the result of 
meditation and observance of life-forces — attempting to 
comprehend the meaning of at least a little of this — on 
this side Andrew Jackson is blank. 

He only knows action, and at twenty, with a lawyer's 
license in his pocket and a pistol in his room at Rowan's 
House, he is prepared for it. He has what some people 
call a presence, and without thinking he will take the lead 
as a matter of course. Despite the reputation that he 
has among men — hard-boiled, so to speak — he is pos- 
itively winning with the ladies, for in their presence 



he is uniformly chivalrous, courteous and civil, v^ith no 
trace of affectation or obnoxious patronage because of 
sex. Women, perhaps more than men, discern in his 
deep blue eyes, w^hich are capable of blazing with great 
expression, the reflection of supreme mastery. And yet, 
it v^ould be men, not w^omen, who would be governed 
almost exclusively by that certified power. He will lash 
them with a piercing glance and a boiling torrent of 
invective, but they will follow him, in their hatred or 
in their love, because men will know and feel this man 
as their leader. Women recognize in him this invincible 
quality, and, although they love him for it, they are 
content not to reckon with it in any tangible way for 
the simple reason that they themselves singly divine their 
incompetence to match it, much less master it. 

Andrew at maturity has lived an unsullied life. It has 
been easy for him so to do. He has had no urgent tempta- 
tions. The Carolina ladies have, one and all, given him 
a wide berth. But they have not neglected him in their 
thoughts. Only wisdom has buttressed their discretion. 

For a year Andrew is virtually lost to view, for he 
has departed from Salisbury after passing two of the 
happiest years of his life among its taverns, its quaint 
law offices, and its race track. One fine day he mounts his 
horse and is gone. For a while he lives in Martinsville, 
North Carolina, waiting for clients, acting as constable 
and helping in the general store of his two friends, Hen- 
derson and Searcy. On November 12, 1787, he was at 
court in the neighboring county of Surry, as the official 
record shows. 

There is still another record to prove his activities of 



this period. The courthouse of Surry was at a Httle vil- 
lage called Richmond and Jackson's frequent visits to 
the tavern, often as a boarder, are attested by the pro- 
prietor's register, which was extant long after Andrew 
had passed on. It appears that Jackson owed what was 
held to be a considerable sum in that period. This ac- 
count, whatever the figure, was perennially brought for- 
ward on the ledger, but tradition says it was never actually 
settled. Twenty-seven years after the debt was supposed 
to have been contracted, news of a certain great military 
achievement reached the North Carolina village. On that 
day, during a lull in the serving of drinks, a quiet little 
man unlocks his strongbox and brings forth a ledger. 
He turns the yellowing pages until he finds the name of 
"A. Jackson, Esqr." He takes his quill pen and, with a 
flourish writes over the face of the entry: ''Settled in 
full, January 8, 1815, by the Battle of New Orleans." 
The drinks are on the house. 

Andrew is to receive several dunning letters from at 
least one resident of Richmond, the county seat, as late 
as 1795, seven years after he had quit that part of the 
country. William Cupples will write to him in regard 
to a note given by Jackson to settle the balance of a 
gambling debt at Richmond. 

Meanwhile, Andrew turns the nose of his horse west- 
ward toward the wilderness. 


Chapter V 


WHEN Andrew Jackson was a boy, that oblong 
block on the map, extending from the Alleghanies 
to the Mississippi, was known as Washington County, 
North Carolina. Later it was divided into two counties and 
then three. After the Revolution, North Carolina, some- 
what troubled by the Indian wars on her western wing, of- 
fered to cede those counties in the wilderness, which now 
compose the State of Tennessee, to the federal govern- 
ment, as Carolina's share of the expenses of the Revolu- 
tion, provided Congress accept the grant West of the Alle- 
ghanies within two years. There were several thousands 
of white settlers in those counties and they were nettled 
at the proposal, fearing that in the interim of two years 
they would have no government, and consequently no 
protection, but would be at the mercy of the unmerciful 

They straightway declared their independence from 
North Carolina and set up a state government of their 
own, naming it Franklin, and elected John Sevier, Gover- 
nor. North Carolina body resented the recalcitrancy of 
her western progeny, and, after some protracted turbu- 



lence, the State of Franklin melted away. It was at this 
time — 1788 — that John McNairy, a friend of Jackson's, 
was appointed Judge of the Superior Court for the west- 
ern district. The office of solicitor, or public prosecutor, 
was offered to Jackson. Andrew believes that a citizen 
should never seek and never decline a public office. The 
district covered a perilous wilderness of five hundred 
miles from the outposts of civiHzation. The two princi- 
pal courts of the district were held at Jonesboro and Nash- 
ville, one hundred and eighty-three miles apart, and united 
only by a trail which ran through a gap in the Cumber- 
land Mountains and then plunged into forests infested 
with hostile Indians, more dangerous than in any portion 
of the western country, because they had often come to 
grips with the whites who were bent upon pushing them 
from their natural habitat. 

Litigants in those days were far more accustomed to 
the settlement of their disputes with fists, clubs and pistols 
than in the persuasive precincts of the court. Changes 
of venue were frequent. It was only a question of trans- 
ferring the case at bar from the judicial tribunal to the 
public square outside, the litigants using pistols or fists 
to achieve the final verdict. A public prosecutor in this 
region was viewed as an official meddler who, if not 
dispatched sooner or later by Indians hiding in ambush, 
might be disposed of summarily with a bullet by plain- 
tiff or defendant. 

Jackson knew the country, its trails, and its habits. He 
was not eager for the job that had been wished upon 
him, but he accepted it, and prosecuted his task with the 
full vigor of his amazing manhood. 



So the judicial party — Judge McNairy, Solicitor Jack- 
son, and a few lawyers eager to seek their fortune in 
the vaunted country of the west — rendezvous at Morgan- 
ton. They are mounted and equipped for the long, haz- 
ardous trek over the mountains to Jonesboro, in eastern 
Tennessee, the first halting place of pioneers bound to 
the lands on the Cumberland River. When Jackson first 
saw Jonesboro it had grown to be a place of about sixty 
log houses and was even boasting about its new court- 

The original plans for this frontier seat of justice were 
as follows : ''The court recommend that there be a court 
house built in the following manner, namely : twenty-four 
feet square, diamond corners, and hewn down after it 
is built up; nine feet high between the two floors; body 
of the house four feet above the upper fioor ; floors neatly 
laid with plank; shingles of roof to be hung with pegs; 
a justice's bench; a lawyers' and clerk's bar; also a sheriff's 
box to sit in." 

Jackson and his party remain several weeks at Jones- 
boro, awaiting the assembling of emigrants who will 
proceed with them to the "bad lands" in the hope of ef- 
fecting a settlement and rearing homesteads. What is 
more important, they await the arrival of a substantial 
guard from Nashville who will escort them through the 
dangerous country. 

The party rides and proceeds afoot by turn, the 
women and children astride the horses, and the men plow- 
ing through mud and loam, their hands quick to the trig- 



ger at the first rustling of leaves in the dense forests 
that yield only a reluctant path. The party has marched 
thirty-six hours and they are very tired. They come to 
a clearing in the early evening, and soon the tents are 
pitched, and the women and children tumble into them to 
sleep. The men wrap themselves in blankets and lie down 
upon the ground, their feet toward the fire in the circle. 

Silence falls upon the camp. All sleep save the sen- 
tinels, who will keep guard half the night, and one other, 
Andrew Jackson. He sits on the ground with his back 
against a tree, smoking his pipe. He hears strange hoot- 
ing sounds around the camp, and he thinks they are owls. 
But the hoots become sharper, and Jackson grasps his rifle 
and rouses the men. He orders the camp quietly broken 
up and the march resumed at once. There are Indians 
round about and they mean to attack before dawn, he 
says. The party, including the judge, obeys without a 

A band of hunters, who reached the camping ground an 
hour after it had been abandoned at Jackson's command, 
were annihilated before the sun rose on the next day. 

There is great joy in Nashville among the settlers when 
the emigrants, among whom is Andrew Jackson, arrive. 
The newcomers are taken into the log cabins, and fed and 
given places to sleep. Soon they will find plenty of work 
to do while their neighbors help them build their own 
cabins in the wilderness. 

Almost simultaneously news reaches Nashville that a 
majority of the states have accepted the new Constitution, 
and all is well with the government at Philadelphia. The 
legislatures are about to choose Presidential electors, and 



it is a foregone conclusion that General Washington will 
be elected the first President of the Republic. Stirring 
news! Jackson brushes the bristling locks of sandy hair 
out of his eyes and contemplates his own job as public 


Eight years before Jackson arrived at Nashville, a 
group of settlers had come that way, headed by Colonel 
John Donelson, a Virginia surveyor. He conceived the 
amazing idea of encompassing the trip by water, that 
he might avoid the peril of the route through the wilder- 
ness, which at that time was unbroken. The flotilla of flat 
boats is mastered by the ''flagship" Adventure, and in 
mid-winter the voyage is begun : down the river Holston 
to the Tennessee, down the Tennessee to the Ohio, up 
the Ohio to the Cumberland, up the Cumberland to Nash- 
ville — and home. The distance was more than two thou- 
sand miles, and no man, white or red, had ever before 
attempted the voyage, which required four months. 

Aboard the Adventure was the daughter of Colonel 
Donelson, Rachel, black-eyed, black-haired, gay, bold and 
handsome. She w^as the first woman that ever was upon 
those treacherous waters, and frequently she took the 
helm while her father took a shot at the Indians. By 
Spring other craft joined the procession, down the rivers 
full of shoals, rapids and whirlpools. Twice the party 
was attacked by Indians; often men would pull their 
boats to the shore to hunt game in the wilderness and 
would never return; one man was frozen to death dur- 
ing the long voyage; two children were born; small-pox 



broke out on one boat containing twenty-eight persons, 
and it was agreed this boat should sail a certain distance 
behind the rest, but within hearing of the flagship's horn. 

Colonel Donelson lands at Nashville, and the emigres 
establish a settlement. He is a thrifty person, is the 
Colonel, and soon is the possessor of much land, cattle, 
Negroes, and a substantial home. When Rachel goes out 
to pick wild blackberries she is accompanied by guards; 
indeed, white men do not even stop at a well for drink 
unless there is a sentinel posted. Many white men have 
yielded their lives in this region — sacrifices to the desire 
for civilization which, in one hundred and fifty years 
will have established air mail routes beneath the infinite 
blue ceiling of this last outpost. One day Colonel Donel- 
son is away in the woods surveying. He does not re- 
turn. They find his body near a creek, pierced with bul- 
lets. This hardy pioneer had lived to see his daughter, 
Rachel, grow to young womanhood, a vivacious and dar- 
ing back-woods peasant girl. 

It is to the home of Widow Donelson that Jackson 
goes to board when he reaches Nashville. In Kentucky, 
Rachel had met Lewis Robards, and they were married. 
Robards owned some land in Kentucky, in a region still 
thickly infested with hostile Indians, and he and Rachel 
were now living with Rachel's mother until the Red men 
should have been either subdued or pacified, rendering 
it safe for the Robards to live in their own cabin. 

The young Solicitor, the only licensed lawyer in 
Western Tennessee, proceeds earnestly about his busi- 
ness. A large part of this will involve debtor cases. Be- 
fore he is settled a month in Nashville he has issued 


seventy writs to delinquent debtors, and, if they are not 
to be found in the vicinity, he mounts his horse and rides 
through the wilderness to serve his summonses and hale 
them into court. Merchants come to him with their cases 
by the score and find in him a prosecutor who means to 
prosecute. Jackson becomes extremely unpopular with 
the debtor class, for they see in him a ''bad man" who 
will not hesitate to use physical force or the threat of 
his pistol in the interest of frontier justice. 

Meanwhile, he is gaining an immense reputation among 
the substantial element of the community and is laying 
the foundation for his fortune and his fame. Let us look 
at the record of the Quarter Sessions court of Davidson 
County, of which Nashville is the capital. 

At the April term, 1790, there are one hundred and 
ninety-two cases on the dockets, and Jackson is employed 
as counsel in forty-two of them. At the January term, 
1793, there are thirteen suits entered, mostly for debt, 
and in every one of them Jackson is employed. At the 
April term of the same year, he is counsel in seventy- 
two out of one hundred and fifty-five cases. At the July 
term he is employed in sixty cases out of one hundred 
and thirty-five; and in October, in sixty-one cases out of 
one hundred and thirty-two. 

During the four terms of 1794, there are three hun- 
dred and ninety-seven cases docketed, and in two hundred 
and twenty-eight of them Jackson appears either as prose- 
cutor or counsel for the defense. During these and later 
years, he practices not only at Nashville, but also at 
Jonesboro, which necessitates many days and nights to 
penetrate the wilderness. He is often required to sleep 



out of doors, in the snow and the rain, his rifle ready 
at his side to repel any sudden attack from his enemies, 
white or red. 

That these dangers are real and not imaginary may be 
gleaned from the facts. From the year 1780 to 1794, the 
Indians killed one person in about every ten days within 
five miles of Nashville. In 1787, the year before Jackson's 
arrival, thirty-three white men were slain by the Red- 
skins. The histories of the period, especially Tennessee 
history, are bloody with the accounts of these killings 
during the period of Jackson's presence in that region — 
many of them provoked by white men, most of them 
caused by the fear of the Indians for their inevitable 


Disputed land claims form the majority of the cases 
at bar which Jackson is called upon either to prosecute 
or defend. Next in importance are assault and battery 
cases, which are numerous. These include the crime of 
mayhem — the biting of the ears and nose of one's op- 
ponent. The settlement of these affairs requires no pro- 
found knowledge of the science of law, a knowledge that 
Jackson does not possess. But what they do require is 
the quality of infinite courage, which Jackson has in 

The country at this time is virtually destitute of 
money, due to the expenses of the recent War for Inde- 
pendence, and in the outposts of civilization, such as 
Tennessee, the commodities mostly in demand are used 
as specie. These are land, corn, coon skins, whisky, axes, 



firearms and cowbells. Buffalo hides supply the demand 
for foreign exchange. In western Tennessee corn is sell- 
ing for more than one hundred dollars a bushel ; whisky 
is everywhere essential for internal warmth and the ad- 
justment of the nervous system, which is frequently 
"jumpy," due to the perils and hardships that men must 
encounter and conquer here. Cows cannot be located in 
the dense cane-brakes and morasses unless they are belled, 
hence cowbells are at a premium. The price paid for a 
cowbell in this wilderness will, in about a hundred and 
fifty years, be the equivalent of the amount handed over 
in New York by the purchaser of a Rolls-Royce auto- 
mobile. A square mile of land near Nashville has been 
sold for three axes and two cowbells, and another tract 
of similar size is exchanged for "a faithful rifle and a 
clear-tuned cowbell." 

It is customary for a client to pay his lawyer's fee with 
land, and Jackson is fast acquiring a substantial acreage 
in Nashville and vicinity. He is actually ''land poor" al- 
ready, for he cannot sell this land, as nearly everyone 
has much more of this ''commodity" than their needs 
require. But just the same, he is laying the foundation 
of his fortune by the writing of a veritable shower of 
briefs, and issuing reams of writs and summonses. 

Let us scan the court records of this period and see 
what kind of cases engage the hawk eye of Solicitor Jack- 
son. Here are a few : 

"State vs. Bazil Fry. For stealing a pair of leather 
leggins. Proof taken : judgement passed that he be repri- 
manded, and acquitted on paying costs." 



'The grand jurors present Joshua Baldwin for alter- 
ing his name to Joshua Campbell, and Ephriam Peyton, 
for taking away, by force, a mare from Joshua." 

*'I, John Irwin, of my free will and accord, do hereby 
acknowledge and certify the Raskelly and Scandoullous 
Report that I have Raised and Reported Concearned Aliss 
Polly McFaddin, is Faulse and Groundless, and that I 
have no Right, Reason or cause to Believe the Same. 
Given under my hand this 26. March, 1793." 

'The court passed a resolution that Caesar be per- 
mitted to build a house in one corner or side of the Pub- 
lik Lott for the purpose of selling Cakes and Beer, etc., 
so long as he conducts himself in an orderly manner 
and has permission from his Master." 

''At the July Session of the county court of Davidson 
County, 1 79 1, John Rains is fined five shillings, paper 
money, for profane swearing." 

Two years will pass in this manner. Jackson will be 
busy every day, riding to court over trackless wastes, 
through deep forests, eluding the vigilance of Indians, 
fording streams in which even his horse hesitates to 
plunge, running down debtors — gathering the reputation 
of a "bad man" because he will brook no interference 
with the process of law from the rich or poor. Also, he 
finds time to enjoy a few evenings at the home of Widow 
Donelson, who esteems him highly, and whose winsome 
daughter, Rachel, though the wife of suspicious and sulky 
Robards, seeks solitary and secluded moments to greet 
him, and now and then to trust him with her precious 


Chapter VI 

SOLICITOR JACKSON'S courtship and marriage to 
Rachel Donelson Robards furnished a comic strip 
that was read from many angles by his enemies through- 
out his history until he was laid at rest by his wife's 
side in the shade of the Hermitage. The subject provided 
his foes with pamphlets, books and speeches throughout 
three Presidential campaigns, and along the groove of 
the years several otherwise smart men dropped in their 
tracks as the price of their flippancy in taunting him 
about his marriage. One of these was killed. 

A President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, 
whom Jackson will succeed in the tides ahead, will pay 
heavily in wounded pride because of Jackson's erroneous 
belief that the President had lent his Puritan's ear to 
the gossip of the scandal mongers and political perverts. 
They, his enemies, shall declare him guilty of adultery. 
And, technically, the charge cannot be gainsaid. Historians 
for one hundred and fifty years and more will delve into 
dusty archives for the records of this strange amalgama- 
tion, and, finding a luscious morsel, they will add such 
embellishment and embroidery as may be necessary to 
bedeck the two backwoods principals in the fripperies 
of a frontier tableau. 



As fast as his horse can carry him, he speeds to Rachel's 
side and for a short time all goes well. Meanwhile, Spring 
has come, and Andrew Jackson is established in Nash- 
ville as Prosecuting Attorney. Jackson meets Overton, 
who will later on become a Judge and a most important 
personage in the history of Tennessee, which shall even 
name a county in his honor. But what is more important 
to Jackson, the foundation of a friendship is laid, and 
it shall endure throughout the long lives of both men. 

It is John Overton who introduces Jackson into the 
home of Widow Donelson and the Robards. Jackson and 
Overton live in a little cabin which is separated from 
the Donelson home by a few steps. They sleep in the same 
bed, and as both are young lawyers — one a prosecutor — 
and often share the dangers of the frontier together — 
they have much to talk about in the flickering light of 
tallow candles and in the perilous dark. Both men place 
their pistols on the floor within hand's reach before blow- 
ing out the candle. 

Due to the unfortunate organization of Robards's mind, 
it is not long before he conjures up a rival in Jackson. 
The slender giant with bristling sandy hair, which is just 
beginning to turn grey at the temples, is no more than 
conventionally polite in the presence of Rachel, despite 
his frequent notice that Robards's attitude toward his 
wife is the opposite of civility, especially in the presence 
of Jackson. The tall man wonders if it may not be neces- 
sary at some future time to give Robards a good lacing 
on his own account. With respect to the attitude of Ro- 
bards toward Rachel, Jackson naturally feels this is 
none of his concern — and yet it does concern him. He 



will always have an attitude of deference toward women, 
this partly because of his high regard for the memory 
of his mother and her suffering. There are other reasons 
that account for this view, by far the most of them 
predicated upon his ignorance of the psychological mech- 
anism of women — an ignorance shared by nearly all men 
of his day, which was to blossom into a standardized form 
of masculine conduct that would bear the name of Chiv- 
alry, but which would omit any recognition of woman 
as an equal. A glamorous name was chosen for sexual 

Thirty-six years later, when Jackson is a candidate for 
the Presidency, his friends, Judge Overton and Major 
William B. Lewis, will recall his conduct now and they 
will note that ''he was a man of polite, refined and courtly 
manners." Judge Overton will testify: 'The whole af- 
fair gave Jackson great uneasiness, and this will not 
appear strange to one as well acquainted with his char- 
acter as I was. Continually together during our attendance 
on wilderness courts, whilst other young men were in- 
dulging in familiarities with females of relaxed morals, 
no suspicion of this kind of the world's censure ever fell 
to Jackson's share." Major Lewis, in 1827, will write: 
"The jaundiced eye of that monster called Jealousy saw 
a thousand things that never existed." 

Robards continues to upbraid his wife about what he 
misconstrues as her attentions to the Solicitor. Not only 
this, but he goes around Nashville talking loosely of Jack- 
son's "relations" with his wife. Jackson is not the kind 



of man who can be talked about loosely, and he has made 
too many friends among the merchants and lawyers of 
the frontier not to be promptly informed of what Robards 
is saying. 

One day they meet in the orchard, and, while Robards 
becomes violent and abusive in his talk, Jackson fixes 
upon him a pair of fiery eyes in which the silly and sulky 
husband might well read his own death sentence. Ro- 
bards challenges Jackson to a fist fight, but the Prosecutor 
is too shrewd to descend to the level of a street brawl 
with a town rufiian and vulgarian. Instead, he offers 
Robards "satisfaction in a gentlemanly fashion" — the 
fashion that all men know and follow in this period — 
and gives Robards the choice of his two pistols in the 
holsters on his horse tethered to a tree nearby. 

Robards grows pale and immediately leaves the scene. 
In order to quicken the retreat of his would-be adversary, 
Jackson fires a bullet into the air and the Captain runs 
for cover, believing he is being pursued, while Jackson 
mounts his horse and gallops away to find new lodgings. 

After a few months more of cat and dog existence at 
Widow Donelson's cabin, Robards for the second time 
abandons Rachel, and trots back to Kentucky with one 
or two of his cronies. He tells them he will never return 
to his wife again, and he never does. Rachel, glad to be 
rid of this grouch, seeks other scenery that her tattered 
nerves might be healed. She is welcomed into the home of 
Colonel Robert Hays, a brother-in-law, who frequently 
drops a word in the household about Solicitor Jackson. At 
every mention of the Solicitor's name Rachel's heart 



flutters. Once or twice she has confided to her sister that 
''Mr. Jackson is a brave and fine man." 

In the Autumn of 1790 a report is circulated in Nash- 
ville that Robards intends to come back and force Rachel 
to accompany him to Kentucky. There is much uneasiness 
in Hays's home, and of course Jackson learns the reason. 
He half regrets that he did not give Robards the leaden 
pellet that day in the orchard. It would have taught him 
a good lesson here or hereafter, Jackson soliloquizes. 
Rachel is distraught. She is determined not ever to live 
with her husband again. He may go to the devil. This 
time she will not yield. Twice he has voluntarily aban- 
doned her, the first time two years before Jackson knew 
of their existence. 

Andrew is beside himself with anxiety, and he con- 
fides to his friend Overton that he is the ''most unhappy 
of men." He feels in some way that he, innocently and 
unintentionally, has been the cause of the last rupture of 
peace between Rachel and her husband. 

Rachel has family connections in Natchez, Mississippi, 
which is a Spanish province, and she decides that will be 
a safe place to go to be rid of Robards. Jackson knows 
this country and its hazards. He fears that Rachel will 
be massacred by the Indians, who are in a state of war 
against the whites in that region. He decides to accom- 
pany her on the boat down the river to Natchez. Rachel 
also will be accompanied by Colonel Stark, a venerable 
and highly esteemed man, and a friend of Mrs. Robards, 
senior. In the late Winter of 1791, Rachel, Jackson and 
Colonel Stark embark on a flat boat for the perilous sail 



down the river. Jackson has good reason to take his two 
pistols with him. He has committed his law business to 
the care of Overton, saying he will return and resume 
his practice when Rachel has landed safely in Natchez. 
True to his word, the early Spring of 1791 finds him 
back in Nashville, attending to his business as Prosecut- 
ing Attorney. 


Robards had not been idle. His hate for his wife, whom 
he had been unable to master, and his intense dislike 
for Jackson, who he realized was in every essential his 
superior, keep his thoughts at white heat. And being an 
habitually unpleasant person, he decides to compromise 
the good names of both by linking them in the charge of 

In the late Winter of 1791, about the same time that 
Rachel and Jackson are sailing down the river to Natchez, 
Robards is In Virginia, applying to the state legisla- 
ture for a divorce. It appears that Captain Robards has 
one or two friends who are members of this body and 
they contrive successfully to exert their influence upon 
the General Assembly, which passes an act entitled : "An 
Act Concerning the Marriage of Lewis Robards.'' In 
effect, the Virginia legislature decides "that it shall and 
may be lawful for Lewis Robards to sue out of the office 
of the Supreme Court of the District of Kentucky, a writ 
against Rachel Robards. ... A jury shall be summoned, 
who shall be sworn well and truly to inquire into the 
allegations contained in the declaration, or to try the 
issue joined, as the case may be, and shall find a verdict 




according to the usual mode; and if the jury, in case of 
issue joined, shall find for the plaintiff, or in case of 
inquiry into the truth of the allegations contained in the 
declaration, shall find in substance, that the defendant 
hath deserted the plaintiff, and that she hath lived in 
adultery with another man since such desertion, the said 
verdict shall be recorded, and. Thereupon, the marriage 
between the said Lewis Robards and Rachel shall be 
totally dissolved." 

With this action accomplished, Robards departs for 
Kentucky and proceeds to boast that he has actually ob- 
tained a divorce. Overton, himself a lawyer, is again a 
boarder at the log cabin of old Mrs. Robards in Ken- 
tucky when Lewis swaggers back into their circle. Over- 
ton, in common with other people, believes the action of 
the Virginia legislature is final. 

Overton is prompt to communicate the news to his 
friend Jackson in Nashville. Jackson likewise concludes 
that Robards has obtained a divorce. He packs his bag, 
not neglecting his pistols, and proceeds by boat to Natchez 
to be the first to inform lonely Rachel that she is at last 
free of the pestiferous Robards — and, by the same token, 
is free to accept him as her husband. 

Andrew Jackson and Rachel Donelson Robards are 
married by a Roman Catholic priest in Natchez, Missis- 
sippi, which since 1781 has been a Spanish province. Spain 
does not relinquish her hold until 1798. The established 
religion, therefore, is Catholic. If there is a Protestant 
clergyman in the vicinity Jackson has failed to find him. 

In an old log house, on the banks of the Mississippi 
River, at Bayou Pierre, Andrew and Rachel pass their 



honeymoon. Jackson is twenty- four years old, and Rachel 
a few years his junior. She now enjoys the first happi- 
ness she has known since she was fifteen years old, when 
her extreme youth and the promptings of older, if equally 
as foolish, heads, combined to intrigue her into the un- 
happy union with Robards. 

In a little while the couple return to Nashville, and 
Jackson resumes the practice of law. A few years pass 
in marital bliss on the farthest rim of American civiliza- 
tion. The social standing of Jackson grows apace. He 
has become what one might call "a leading citizen." Bad 
Indians, reckless debtors, and two-gun rowdies slink 
from his presence and hide themselves in the canebrakes 
until they hear the gallop of his horse become a whisper 
in the wind. Merchants and traders join honest citizens 
in seeking his counsel and company, for Andrew Jackson 
is a sociable fellow if he thinks you think as he thinks, or 
if you can guard your thoughts should you think him 

In October, 1791, a few months following his mar- 
riage, he is elected one of the trustees of Davidson Acad- 
emy, a body composed of leading citizens and clergymen 
of the place. That is what this group thinks of Robards's 
pointing to Jackson as an adulterer. He will continue to 
serve on this board, attend the meetings with uncommon 
regularity, and take a leading part in the affairs of the 
institution until 1805. And Davidson Academy will be- 
come known as Nashville University — guided, in part, to 
its high destiny by a man who never had an education in 
the real sense, but who learned much from life in the 



glint of moonlights suspended over the wilderness, and 
from the frank or furtive eyes of men. 

Two years pass and all is well with everyone except 
Robards, who is still being consumed by hatred, self- 
love and jealousy. Word comes that Robards has been 
granted a real divorce in the courts of Kentucky. The 
transcript of the record shows what has happened : 

"At a court of Quarter Sessions, held for Mercer 
County, at the court house in Harrodsburgh, on the 27th 
day of September, 1793, this day came the plaintiff by 
his attorney, and thereupon came also a jury, to wit : 
James Bradsbury, Thomas Smith, Gabriel Slaughter, 
John Lightfoot, Samuel Work, Harrison Davis, John 
Ray, Obediah Wright, John Miles, John Means, Joseph 
Thomas, and Benjamin Sanless, who being elected, tried, 
and sworn, well and truly to inquire into the allegation 
in the plaintiff's declaration, specified upon oath, do say, 
that the defendant, Rachel Robards, hath deserted the 
plaintiff, Lewis Robards, and hath, and doth, still live in 
adultery with another man. It is therefore considered by 
the court that the marriage between the plaintiff and the 
defendant be dissolved." 

It is evident that this backwoods court and jury did 
not waste too much of its precious time investigating the 
circumstances of this case. It was true that Rachel ran 
away from her husband, but it was also true that he had 



twice abandoned her, and finally imposed a condition for 
their living together that was tantamount to a threat. It 
was true that she had been living for two years with An- 
drew Jackson before having been divorced from her hus- 
band; but she thought, and so did Jackson and Overton 
(both lawyers) think that the action of the Virginia As- 
sembly in 1 79 1 was final. The wily Robards had set an 
ugly trap. 

It is especially upon Rachel Jackson, than whom a more 
chaste woman never lived in Tennessee, that the court of 
Kentucky placed the brand of Adultery. It is she — sweet, 
pious Rachel — who must bear this stigma and have the 
wound in her heart constantly exposed for the thirty- 
four years that she is to be the wife of Andrew Jackson. 
At last it will break her heart and she will die on the very 
eve of his greatest triumph. It will not fall to her lot to be 
the First Lady of the Land, but while she lives she shall 
know the love and protection of stout-hearted Jackson, 
and that shall be sufficient for this simple woman, branded 
with the Scarlet Letter. 

Although Robards had obtained his divorce in Septem- 
ber, Overton did not hear of it until December, 1793, 
after he and Jackson had started out to thread their way 
through the wilderness to Jonesboro, where they are to 
attend court. Jackson is amazed at this turn of events, 
and for a long while he gallops by the side of Overton, 
keeping an ominous silence, only his blazing eyes telling 
of the tempest raging within him. 

Overton suggests the propriety of Jackson obtaining 
a second license to wed after they return to Nashville 
from Jonesboro, but Jackson, at first, is adamant. He 



replies brusquely that he has been married for several 
years, in the belief that a divorce had in fact been granted 
by the Virginia legislature, and adds that everyone else 
in the community at all familiar v^ith the circumstances 
believed the same thing. 

Hov^ever, Andrew^ Jackson is not a stubborn man in 
all matters. He may be easily persuaded to change his 
mind if approached in the proper manner. In this in- 
stance the good name of Rachel is at stake. If he had this 
account to square only with himself, he v^ould knov^ how 
to meet it. 

The legal matters that detain Jackson and Overton in 
Jonesboro being concluded, they turn their horses west- 
ward over the trail. It is a cold and bleak Winter, and at 
night they dare not light a fire for fear of attracting a 
band of warring Indians. Jackson has persuaded himself 
that since he has given hostage to fortune he must be 
less reckless with his pistols, and reduce, if possible, the 
number of chances against his life. 

In January, 1794, he returns to Nashville, obtains a 
license, and for the second time he is married to Rachel 
— on this occasion a Presbyterian clergyman officiating. 
Thus he thinks he has silenced his critics now and for- 
ever. He does not foresee that this matter will be made 
an issue again and again. One of the reasons that he does 
not foresee it is because he foresees scarcely anything of 
a subtle nature, acting only when the time for action arises 
— and then his aim is deadly, his purpose relentless. There 
are a number of gentlemen who will find this out later on. 



It is not surprising that Jackson did not hear of the 
Kentucky divorce until three months after it was granted. 
West Tennessee in still an insulated region, surrounded 
on every side by the w^ilderness, w^herein dwell savage In- 
dians. There is no mail route established in this section 
now, and there will be none until 1797. 

Jackson's marriage, for all the clouds under which it 
was contracted, is to be one of the happiest that was ever 
made on this earth. These mates understand each other 
sufficiently to have grace enough to let the other alone — 
Jackson with his pistols and his dreams of civilizing 
the immediate country and pushing the white man's tri- 
umph further westward — Rachel with her Bible and her 
long stem pipe, wanting nothing more than the company 
of her tall man in the evenings by the fire light. 

Their love shall increase as the years grow longer, 
and shall become warmer as age lays its cool hand upon 
their passion. He shall be to her always ''Mr. Jackson," 
never "General," much less "Andrew." He does not call 
her "Rachel," but addresses her as "Mrs. Jackson," or 

Whatever reputation Jackson shall have in the world 
of men — and it shall be black enough among his enemies, 
and a grey even among some of his friends — in his home 
with Rachel he will be known only as a loving, patient, 
gentle, and considerate husband. 

There will be only a few who will have an opportunity 
to know that side of this turbulent man — this gun-toting, 
head-hunting, gentle savage, who is about to become a 
man of many affairs. 



Chapter VII 

LET us go back a few years to see what has been 
/ transpiring that has given Jackson such a prominent 
position among his neighbors. His marital affairs have 
occupied a large part of his attention, but he has not let 
this master all of his thought, nor his time. 

On May 26, 1790, Congress organized the country 
between Kentucky and the present states of Alabama and 
Mississippi as ''the Territory of the United States South- 
west of the Ohio River" ; the name, being a mouthful, the 
inhabitants edited it into "Southwest Territory." In Sep- 
tember, 1790, William Blount, of North Carolina, was 
appointed Regional Governor. In the following year the 
northern half of the territory became the State of Ken- 
tucky, so that Blount's jurisdiction was confined to the 
southern half, or what is now the State of Tennessee. 

Governor Blount had a ticklish job, one that might 
easily bring him into marked disfavor, for the region had 
grown accustomed to being governed as part of North 
Carolina. Blount made his task easier by continuing in 
office as many of the high officials as possible. John Mc- 
Nairy, Jackson's old friend of Salisbury days, continues 
in office as Territorial Judge. James Robertson, one of the 



first white men to arrive in Tennessee — a pioneer with 
Rachel Jackson's father, John Donelson — is made Com- 
mander of the mihtia ; Jackson, who has been Prosecutor 
under the North CaroHna government in these western 
counties, is appointed Attorney General for the Mcro Dis- 
trict, which is the western extremity of the Southwest 
Territory. Thus, Jackson is a United States Attorney, and 
occupied that post when he married Rachel Robards. 

For safety's sake, in view of the nervous condition of 
the territory, what with the Indians almost constantly 
on the war-path with the whites, and provinces ruled by 
foreign kings on the west and southeast of Tennessee, 
Governor Blount organized a cavalry regiment in each 
district. Jackson's brother-in-law. Colonel Robert Hays, 
is named to command the Mero regiment. A little later, 
September lo, 1792, Jackson received his first military 
office when Blount appointed him "Judge Advocate for 
the Davidson Regiment." The place was of no importance, 
but it provided Jackson with a wedge with which he 
might pry military incompetents out of their jobs and 
work his way into supreme command of the West Ten- 
nessee militia. 

In 1793, the Territory having the required five thousand 
male adult population, the first step was taken toward 
statehood by establishing a territorial legislature. The 
Territory knows it will be admitted into the Union as a 
state when its population shall have grown to sixty thou- 
sand. And that will not be long, for the gazettes in the 
region are beginning to publish laudatory accounts of 
the ''advantages of living in a new country just opening 
up." Evidently the merchants have formed a Chamber of 



Commerce to boom local industries. The gazettes are even 
announcing that the trails are ''safer" for the covered 
wagon caravans than formerly, when they were way- 
laid by the Indians. 

But Jackson plays no part in this frontier boosters' 
campaign. It appears he is not as much interested in the 
territorial legislature as he is in first making the wilder- 
ness safe for democracy. That it is not yet safe may be 
judged from Ja<:kson's letter to Colonel John McKee, 
who has been sent by Governor Blount on a mission to 
pacify the Cherokees and restrain them from threatened 
violence against the Territory. 

The letter also shows the pain of Jackson's effort to 
express himself on paper. His pistols bark far more elo- 
quently. The letter: 

Cumberland, Jan. 30, 1793 
Dear Sir: I Received your letter by Mr. Russle and 
observe that My papers were not forwarded pr first Ex- 
press ; by advise of Governor Blount. Any Transaction of 
yours or Governor Blount with respect to My Business 
will be perfectly pleasing to me as I know by experience 
that My Interest will be attended to by each. You are the 
Best Judge what time will be most advantageous to for- 
ward them; also what authentication will be most proper 
to forward with them ; all, which, I let Rest with you. 

The Late Express that proclaimed peace to our West- 
ern Country; attended with the late Depredations and 
Murders Committed by Indians on our frontier has oc- 



casioned a Great Clamour amongsht the people of this 
District and it is Two Much to be dreaded that they 
Indians has Made use of this Finesse to Lull the people 
to sleep that they might save their Towns and open a 
more Easy Road to Commit Murder with impunity; this 
is proved by their late conduct, for since that Express, 
nat Less than Twelve Men have been Killed and wounded 
in this District : one question I would Beg leave to ask 
why do we now attempt to hold a Treaty with them ; have 
they attended to the Last Treaty; I answer in the Nega- 
tive then why do we attempt to Treat with Saveage Tribe 
that will neither adhere to Treaties, nor the law of Na- 
tions, upon these particulars I would thank you for your 
sentiments in your next. I have the honour to be with 
the highest esteem, Your Mo, ob, Serv. 

Andrew Jackson. 

For all its lack of literary quality, coupled with its bad 
spelling, Jackson manages to portray his character in this 
letter most strikingly. It should be remembered that it 
is not within his official capacity to inquire into matters 
respecting treaties, and Colonel McKee is under no ob- 
ligation to reply to Jackson. But matters such as juris- 
diction and proper authority will never stand in Jackson's 
way. The spirit of Jackson's letter, if not the style, an- 
ticipates, by one hundred and twenty-four years, a series 
of haughty epistles that will be written in correct and 
austere English to a great empire at war with the world 
by a President of the United States, who will most re- 
semble Andrew' Jackson in the dual qualities of mind and 
body — Woodrow Wilson. Both imperious Democrats. 



In the following year, 1794, the Southwest Territory 
is up in arms against the Indians who have provoked the 
whites beyond endurance by the frequency and audacity 
of their excursions into white settlements. The traders 
are especially incensed, for they cannot hope to induce 
emigrants to settle in this section under these perilous 

It is the merchant class of the Mero District which pre- 
vails upon Governor Blount to ''take action." The In- 
dians must be cleared out of the region. Their continued 
presence is no economic benefit whatsoever to the white 
traders, and the white housewives are afraid to leave their 
spinning wheels and venture across the fields to make 
necessary purchases for fear of being attacked and car- 
ried away by the Red men. It is easy for Jackson to 
sympathize with the merchants. For one thing, he is a 
man of large land-holdings himself, and, although he can- 
not eat the land, he can sell it in parcels to the emigrants 
and home seekers who will come that way once they are 
convinced the Indians are subdued. Hence, there is profit 
to be gained by Jackson as well as others in the suppres- 
sion of the Cher'okees. 

But we shall attribute to Jackson no mean or mercenary 
motives. His is a warrior's spirit — not a happy warrior 
either — over and above everything else. He loves battles, 
especially if they are to be fought in behalf of what he 
calls justice. The Spirit of 'y6 is in his blood. 


More than a year later, May 16, 1794, Jackson again 
inquires of Colonel McKee as to the Indian situation, and 



takes occasion, to rebuke President Washington and Con- 
gress "for their pacific disposition." Jackson at this time 
is only twenty-seven years old, but his youth does not 
dissuade him from telHng the world what he thinks of 
General Washington — and what he thinks is not com- 
plimentary, as Washington will discover for himself later 
on if he reads the minutes of Congress. 

On the above date Jackson takes his pen, instead of a 
pistol, in hand, and writes to Colonel McKee : 

Dear Sir: I Reed your letter of the 17th April 94 
which give me Sanguine hopes of a General peace With 
the Southern Indians, but I had Scarcely finished Reading 
it before these hopes all Vanished, at the information of 
the Murder of James Mc — since which time they have 
been constantly infesting Our frontier. I fear that their 
Peace Talks are only Delusions and in order to put us 
of our Guard; why Treat with them does not Experience 
teach us that Treaties answer No other Purpose than 
opening an Easy door for the Indians to Pass through 
to Butcher our Citizens; what Motives congress are 
governed by with respect to their pacific Disposition 
towards Indians I know not ; some say Humanity dictates 
it; but Certainly she ought to Extend an Equal of hu- 
manity towards her own Citizens ; in doing this Congress 
would act Justly and Punish the Barbarians for Mur- 
dering her innocent Citizens, has not our Citizen for 
Marching to their Town and killing some of them, then 
why not when they Committ Murders on our Citizens 
agreeable to the Treaty demand the (murderers) if they 
are not given up is an infringement of the Treaty and a 



Cause of War and the whole Nation ought to be Scurged 
for the infringement of the Treaty for as the Nation will 
not give murderers up when demanded it is a acknowledg- 
ment of their Consent to the Commission of the Crime 
therefore all consenting are equally guilty, I dread the 
consequences of the Esuing Summer, the Indians appear 
Verry Troublesome the frontier Discouraged and break- 
ing and numbers leaving the Territory and moving 
to Kentucky; this Country is Declining fast, and unless 
congress lends us a more ample protection this Coun- 
try will have at length to break or seek a Protection 
from some other Source than the present. I will thank 
you for the News of the Place. My Next shall be more 

I am Dr. Sir yr. Hbl. st 
Andrew Jackson. 

That Jackson does not exaggerate the distress in the 
territory of Tennessee is indicated by the fact that in 
September, 1794, Governor Blount sanctioned the send- 
ing by General Robertson of an expeditionary force into 
the Cherokee country. This expedition, known as the 
Nickajack, dealt the Red men a severe blow and induced 
the tribe to leave the Cumberland settlements in peace ever 
after. Jackson was not a member of this expedition, but 
he was heartily in favor of it, although it was his duty 
to seek to suppress it, since the federal government at 
Philadelphia expressed Washington's view that the In- 
dians were more sinned against than sinning, and there- 
fore would not authorize retaliatory measures against 



But General Robertson's NIckajackers broke the back 
of the Cherokee designs on the settlement, and the pros- 
perity of the territory dates from that expedition. Emi- 
grants begin to pour into the Cumberland region in 
ceaseless numbers. The merchants are happy and they add 
considerably to the stock and size of their stores. Jackson, 
as the principal attorney in the territory, likewise pros- 
pers. Many of his fees for conducting suits of no great 
importance are a square mile of land for each case. He 
bought six hundred and fifty acres of the tract which 
afterwards formed the Hermitage farm, for eight hun- 
dred dollars. In a few more years he will become even a 
more extensive land-holder, and will sell six thousand 
dollars' worth of land to a gentleman in Philadelphia. 
Much of this vast acreage had previously changed hands 
by the sale of one horse, two cow-bells, a couple of axes, 
or a barrel of whisky. The tide of emigration westward 
bound would relieve him of much of it and put dollars 
into his pockets — lots of dollars, for his pockets are deep. 

But Andrew gives no more time or attention to the 
acquisition of land and dollars than the matter properl}' 
deserves. He finds plenty of time to race horses, attend 
the arena where cocks are fought and to bet on them, 
loiter over the bars of the taverns, drinking temperately, 
and pen indignant letters to statesmen east and west, and 
military officials about Indian depredations. He finds time, 
too, to pass many an evening at home in his log cabin 
with Rachel — both of them sitting near the open fire if 
it is Winter, or out of doors in the moonlight if it is Sum- 



mer, smoking fheir pipes, their ears attuned to the sHght- 
est hostile sound in the brush nearby. Jackson never goes 
anywhere without his pistols. He picks them up as natu- 
rally as he does his hat, and jams them into the holsters 
of his belt. Rachel, also, is proficient in the handling of 
firearms. She is quite easy about life in this tall men's 
territory, for her man is as tall as any, and feared and 
respected as none other. 

Many are the rough and tumble fights in which he is 
often forced to take part where there is no time to draw 
the pistol, or when so to do would be needless shedding 
of blood. A blow with his fist or with a stick will often 
clinch a point that a legal brief or a wordy summons 
would be sure to miss. 


Some years later Jackson will recall these scenes to a 
visitor in the White House, who feared that when he 
ventured forth he would be assailed because of his ar- 
dent support of Jackson's administration. 

"Now, Mr. B., if any one attacks you, I know how 
you'll fight with that big stick of yours," said the Presi- 
dent. "You'll aim right for his head. Well, sir, ten chances 
to one he'll ward it off; and if you do hit him you won't 
bring him down. No sir," Jackson continued, taking the 
stick in his own hands to demonstrate how it should be 
done, "you hold the stick so, and punch him in the stom- 
ach, and you'll drop him. I'll tell you how I found that 

"When I was a young man practicing law In Tennessee, 
there was a big bullying fellow that wanted to pick a 



quarrel with me, and so trod on my toes. Supposing it 
accidental, I said nothing. Soon after, he did it again, 
and I began to suspect his object. In a few minutes he 
came by a third time, pushing against me violently and 
evidently meaning fight. He was a man of immense size, 
one of the very biggest men I ever saw. As quick as a 
flash, I snatched a small rail from the top of the fence, 
and gave him the pint of it full in his stomach. Sir, it 
doubled him up. He fell at my feet, and I stamped on 
him. Soon he got up savage, and was about to fly at me 
like a tiger. The bystanders made as though they would 

''Says I, 'Gentlemen, stand back, give me room, that's 
all I ask, and I'll manage him.' With that I stood ready 
with the rail pinted. He gave me one look, and turned 
away, a whipped man, sir, and feeling like one. So, sir, 
I say to you, if any villain assaults you, give him the pint 
in his belly." 

Jackson's first duel occurs during these law-making 
days on the frontier. His antagonist is none other than 
old Colonel Waightsill Avery, at whose home in Morgan- 
ton, North Carolina, Jackson had first applied for in- 
struction in the law. Often Jackson and Colonel Avery 
were opponents in law suits in the Jonesboro court. One 
morning Jackson is espousing the cause of his client 
warmly and seems to make the issue his own — an ha- 
bitual failing and one that will involve him in many vio- 
lent disputes. 

Colonel Avery ridicules a legal position taken by Jack- 
son, using language more sarcastic than is called for. 
Jackson is stung to the quick. He snatches a pen and 



scrawls on the fly leaf of a law book a challenge to a 
duel. Colonel Avery is no duelist; in fact, he is opposed 
to that method of settling arguments, but not to accept 
the challenge would be to lose caste on the frontier. 

The case at bar is submitted to the jury, and after 
sun-down the adversaries appear in the street, both look- 
ing for seconds. It is dusk before the arrangements are 
completed and the parties march to a hollow North of 
Jonesboro. The ground is measured and the principals are 
placed. The command, ''Ready," is given, and they fire. 
Neither is hit, and Jackson acknowledges himself satis- 
fied. They shake hands, for Jackson is somewhat ashamed 
of this hasty display of temper toward his old friend, and 
they are to remain on good terms ever after. 

It is also at Jonesboro that a fire occurs one night in 
a stable near the court-house and the tavern. People run 
into the street, and Jackson happens to be leaning on the 
bar in the tavern when he hears the commotion outside. 
Lawyers, judges, women in their nightdresses, and loi- 
terers fill the street. At once Jackson assumes command. 
Leadership is conceded to him by unspoken consent. He 
forms the men into two lines and shouts for buckets. He 
orders the roofs of the tavern and the courthouse covered 
with wet blankets. At this moment a frontier giant, who 
is confined in jail charged with cropping the ears of his 
wife's illegitimate child, born during the husband's ab- 
sence of a year in the wilderness, tears out the bars of his 
cell and joins the bucket brigade. This man, Russell Bean, 
the first white man born in Tennessee, will share with 
Jackson the honor of having saved Jonesboro from de- 
struction. But these honors will not be distributed until 



Jackson has knocked down a drunken rowdy with a bucket 
because the man persists in jabbering instead of becom- 
ing a fireman. 

It is July, 1795. Jackson has passed six years on the 
frontier among people like himself — hardy pioneers — 
generous, yet frugal ; kind, yet ruthless ; quick to resent a 
wrong, quick to exact an accounting for it, and quick to 
forget it once the payment in blood or treasure is made. 
Jackson is a singular exception in this respect: he not 
only invokes heavy reprisals for wrongs, real or imagi- 
nary, imposed upon his kith or kin, but he never forgets 
them even after reparations are made. An injustice done 
to a friend might just as well be done to him, for he will 
fight as quickly to vindicate the honor and the rights of 
his friends as he will for his own. This quality wins him 
hosts of friends and an equal number of enemies, for the 
enemies of his friends are his foes, too. 

Jackson will pay dearly for this quality, but in the long 
run it will compensate him with perhaps the largest per- 
sonal following a President has ever known. Some of his 
most ardent and, albeit, thoughtless admirers will even 
speak of upsetting the republican form of government 
and proclaiming Jackson as King Andrew I. These fol- 
lowers, largely from the backwoods where public schools 
still are unknown (Tennessee, for example, will not in- 
augurate a system of public schools until 1830), will 
accomplish nothing other than to furnish Jackson's ene- 
mies, who are legion and among the most formidable a 



President has ever known, with ammunition to attack 
him as a tyrant and usurper. 

But just now the territorial legislature has ordered 
a census to be taken for the purpose of ascertaining 
whether there is the requisite number of sixty thousand 
inhabitants for the admission of the Territory into the 
Union as a sovereign state. The census is taken, and, in 
November, Governor Blount announces that the Terri- 
tory contains seventy-seven thousand two hundred and 
sixty-two inhabitants. 

The Governor therefore calls upon the people of the 
respective counties to elect five persons for each county 
to represent them in the constitutional convention, which 
will assemble January ii, 1796, at Knoxville, the seat of 
the Territorial government, ''for the purpose of forming 
a Constitution or permanent form of government." 

President Washington and members of Congress at 
Philadelphia hear of this move and are plainly chagrined. 
How dare the people of this howling wilderness presume 
to usher themselves into the Union as a state without 
federal permission ! Only last year they made bold to 
send an armed expeditionary force against the Cherokees 
without the government's sanction; in fact, in flagrant 
opposition to the government's policy. 

Well, President Washington may fume and fret if he 
likes, because Philadelphia is a long, long trail from 
Tennessee, and before any word can possibly reach the 
wilderness of his pointed displeasure the movement toward 
statehood will have advanced too far to retreat. 

Davidson County elects its five delegates, among whom 



are Judge McNairy, General Robertson and Andrew Jack- 
son. General Robertson's wife is still teaching him how 
to read. This is the first position to which Jackson has 
been elected by the people. Plainly he is pleased. What 
young man of twenty-nine could resist being proud of 
assisting in the writing of a Constitution and a Bill of 
Rights for a new state? 

One evening Jackson pulls out of his pocket a ponder- 
ous document. Supper over, he brings his chair, and one 
for Rachel, over to the bright fire. They fill their pipes. 
Rachel is knitting a shawl for one of her innumerable 
nieces. For a long while there is silence between them. 
Only the night wind outside puts commas and exclama- 
tion points into the unbroken quietude within. Jackson 
leans forward, the document dangling between his long 
legs, so that the light from the logs will make the reading 

'What are you reading, Mr. Jackson?" Rachel asks. 

''Constitution, wife," he replies. 

"Aint you well, Mr. Jackson?" she asks, anxiously. 

The tall man folds the copy of North Carolina's charter 
and lays it on the table beside his pistols. He smiles at 
Rachel and pats her hand. 

"There's pint to that Constitution," he says. Rachel 
bursts into laughter that sounds like running water. She 
has learned another use for the word Constitution. 

Jackson has need to brush up on the subject. He is 
going to help write the Charter for Tennessee. Andrew 
has become a statesman. 


Chapter VIII 

FIFTY-FIVE frontiersmen, five from each of the 
eleven counties, appear in the Httle town of Knox- 
ville on a cold morning in January, 1796. They are going 
to write a State Constitution. From all directions, they 
have galloped into the village, many of them having been 
in the saddle several days and nights, with brief inter- 
missions for food and rest at taverns along the trails. 
Andrew Jackson is among those who have come the 
farthest distance. With Judge McNairy and his other col- 
leagues, he slept only a few hours last night at a tavern, 
and has been riding his horse through the mountains 
toward Knoxville since long before dawn. 

The men stand in groups near a small building, which 
afterward will serve as a school-house, surrounded by 
tall trees of the primeval wilderness. Many of them have 
never met each other before, and some may never meet 
again. Others shall fight side by side in future battles 
that have yet to punctuate Americans history in this early 
period. There are not more than two or three dozen log 
cabins, a couple of stores, a church and the Governor's 
house scattered over the town of Knoxville, but the in- 
habitants are astir early, having been awakened by the 



beat of horses' hoofs on the hard roads entering the town. 

The building has been fitted up for the reception of 
the Constitution-makers at the cost of twelve dollars and 
sixty-two cents — ten dollars for seats, and the rest for oil 
cloth to cover the tables. Although the legislature has 
fixed the compensation of the delegates at two dollars 
and a half a day, it has neglected to provide funds for 
a secretary, a printer and a door-keeper. The first busi- 
ness of the convention, therefore, is to resolve that "in- 
asmuch as economy is an amiable trait in any government, 
and, in fixing the salaries of the officers thereof, the 
situation and resources of the country should be attended 
to, therefore one dollar and a half per diem is enough 
for us, and no more w^ill any man of us take, and the 
rest shall go to the payment of the secretary, the printer, 
doorkeeper and other officers." 

Although many of these Constitution-makers shoul- 
dered muskets in the War for Independence and have good 
reason to dislike England and her ways, they straightway 
adopt rules for the convention similar to those obtaining 
in the British House of Commons. It will be noted many 
times throughout the history of this republic that Ameri- 
can law-makers fall back upon British law and custom for 
precedent and pattern. The convention organized, it pro- 
ceeds to appoint two members from each county to draft 
a Charter, and Judge McNairy and Jackson are selected 
to represent Davidson County. In twenty-seven days the 
task will be accomplished and the delegates will depart 
for their homes, with something of the spirit of bad boys 
who have turned the trick while their elders were not 
watching them. And yet, the federal government at Phila- 



delphia is watching Tennessee, but is helpless to do any- 
thing about it. 

Philadelphia has misgivings about this backwoods Ter- 
ritory. It knows the whites to be fearless men of action 
who are determined to rid their settlements of the Indian 
menace at all cost. Now the federal government is not 
only disposed to be friendly toward the Red men, but, 
being heavily in debt because of the recent Revolution, 
it has no money with which to prosecute a war against 
the Indian nations, even if it were of a mind so to do. 
Moreover — and this is equally important — the Federalist 
Party recognizes in the Southwest Territory a militant 
spirit which is somewhat in disharmony with the desire 
in the East to maintain the status quo, at least for the 
present. The East is secure, and already a certain aspect 
of complacency has appeared in high places. Having pro- 
claimed its independence in a Declaration of ''glittering 
generalities" twenty years ago, it evinces a tendency to 
go no further, and this the West, which is republican, can- 
not comprehend. There is growing up on the western 
frontiers a dissatisfaction with the government at Phila- 
delphia, because the government fails to appreciate the 
tremendous travail through which the West is passing 
to found a white's man's civilization. The policy at Phila- 
delphia seems to be to let sleeping dogs lie. 

In their constitutional convention, the people of the 
Southwest Territory are acting on the basis of a supposed 
right to statehood, which they feel is implied in the act 
by which Congress received North Carolina's cession of 



the whole region. There is no precedent for the creation 
of states out of territories, hence the people of Tennessee 
have no alternative but to make the gesture and see what 
becomes of it. But none can doubt that there is a spirit 
of defiance of federal authority among these pioneers 
who take the gorgeous rhetoric in the Declaration literally, 
while they carve out of the wilderness signs and symbols 
of civilization. 

The democratic principles of Jackson at this conven- 
tion are somewhat dubious when contrasted with his 
precepts of a latter day that make him the loud spokesman 
of Militant Democracy and the protector of the rights 
of men who are without property or social position. 

He now opposes the principle of universal suffrage and 
equal rights. He is one of the framers of the clause that 
allows a rich man a vote in every county in which he 
may own a certain quantity of land, and confines the 
poor man to a single vote in the county in which he re- 
sides. He advocates the clause recommending the ex- 
clusion from the legislature of every man who does not 
possess two hundred acres of land in his own right. A 
governor must possess a freehold estate of five hundred 
acres. Jackson seconds a motion forbidding clergymen 
from holding seats in the legislature. He supports the 
motion that there shall be two houses of the legislature, 
the House and the Senate. Judge McNairy is in favor 
of one House. 

Jackson supports the clause that provides that no one 
shall be received as a witness who denies the existence 
of God, or disbeHeves in "a state of future rewards and 
punishments." In this clause, Tennessee is laying the 



cornerstone of the temple of Fundamentalism that will 
serve as a refuge for theological dogma, and a challenge 
to science and common sense in a serio-comic tableau 
in which William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow 
will be the principal opposing actors in a theme of whether 
or not it is decent and Christian to teach the theory of 
evolution in Tennessee's schools and colleges after 1925. 
That episode will be known as the "Dayton Trial." 

The claim of the Spaniards to the exclusive navigation 
rights on the Mississippi River has been aggravating the 
Tennesseeans for some years. What time and place more 
fitting to repulse this claim of a foreign power than 
at the constitutional convention of Tennessee? Jackson, 
therefore, vehemently supports the clause in the Bill of 
Rights which declares that ''an equal participation of the 
free navigation of the Mississippi is one of the inherent 
rights of the citizens of this State; it can not, therefore, 
be conceded to any prince, potentate, power, person or 
persons whatever." Jackson, in particular, will remember 
this clause, as it shall be his part henceforth for twenty 
years to execrate the Spaniards. 

The convention having completed its labors, Jackson re- 
crosses the Cumberland and the wilderness lying beyond 
it. The convention has left to the Assembly, which it 
created, the task of putting the new state government into 
operation, and has fixed March 28, 1796, as the time when 
the territorial government shall expire. It has declared, 
moreover, that if Congress fails to accept Tennessee into 
the sisterhood of states, the commonwealth will continue 
to exist as an independent state. Congress, in considering 
the matter, will note this defiance. 



At all events, Thomas Jefferson studies the Charter 
of the new state, and praises it as the most republican 
one of all the state constitutions. The Federalists, on the 
other hand, look askance at Tennessee. 

The new state legislature meets and promptly elects 
^'Citizen John Sevier" as its first Governor. The French 
revolutionary influence is evident in the prefix of the 
word ''Citizen," yet this is after Robespierre had been 
guillotined, and Bonaparte had put down the insurrection 
of Paris. But Tennessee has not heard of this. Revolu- 
tions in even as remote places as France hearten these 
backwoodsmen, who are accustomed to killings in the 
name of liberty. Possibly because there is no political ma- 
chinery, the Constitution is not submitted to the people for 
approval. Perhaps the majority could not read it if they 
saw it, hence they invest implicit trust in its framers not 
to betray them, and the framers are true to that trust. 

Governor Sevier led the hardy mountaineers against 
the Royalist troops and the Tories in South Carolina in 
the War for Independence. He was "a, leading citizen" in 
eastern Tennessee when Jackson was a boy, and the 
people naturally turned to him and made him Governor 
of the ''state" of Franklin, which actually comprised the 
rebellious western counties of North Carolina when the 
latter state was endeavoring to cede them to the federal 

Sevier has a large following in eastern Tennessee, 
while Jackson's strength is in the West. It is inevitable 
that they should become rivals for supreme mastery over 
the infant state, and rivalry on the frontier is not a mat- 
ter of political palaver. It is conducive to intense, bitter, 



personal enmity that sooner or later must strike a balance 
in a duel. But this broth will simmer a while longer be- 
fore boiling over. 


Meanwhile, there are several choice offices to be filled. 
William Blount, former Governor of the Southwest Ter- 
ritory, and William Cocke, who will become a military 
leader later on, are elected the first United States Senators 
from the new state. George Conway is elected Major 
General of the Tennessee Militia, but in a few years he 
will yield this post to Andrew Jackson. 

Tennessee is entitled to but one representative in the 
lower house of Congress, and early in the Fall of 1796, 
Jackson is elected to this post. President Washington is 
serving the last year of his second term and already he is 
yearning for private life at Mount Vernon. Tennessee 
chooses three Presidential electors who will cast the vote 
of their state for Thomas Jefferson for President, and 
Aaron Burr for Vice President. The infant state admires 
Jefferson because he is an opponent of the Federalist 
Party. It does not in the least perceive the deep passionate 
quality of his humanitarian philosophy, nor the import 
of complete democracy which the Virginian espouses. 
Tennessee throws its second choice to Burr because the 
brilliant New Yorker was the leading advocate in Con- 
gress for the admission of the new state into the Union, 
which is accomplished on June i, 1796, just as Congress 
is about to adjourn. 

Late in October, Jackson bids good-bye to Rachel, 
straps his pistols around his waist, mounts his horse, and 



is off for Philadelphia — a distance of eight hundred miles. 
He must reach the city of the Quakers and the seat of 
government by December 5, when Congress will convene. 
One may easily imagine the perils of his ride through 
mountains infested with Indians, days and nights with 
little sleep, often obliged to make his bed on the ground 
in the depths of the wilderness! It will be many years 
before Congressman Jackson's successors ride to Wash- 
ington from Nashville in Pullman cars on government 
mileage, smoking cigars while gazing out of the windows 
upon populous cities and prosperous farmlands that were 
unblazed trails when Jackson led the way in 1796. 

But even in that early day, Jackson was not entirely 
alone on the road to Philadelphia. Constantly he was 
meeting covered wagon trains carrying settlers to the 
western country. Many of them were bound for the Cum- 
berland region and would settle in Tennessee, now that 
it had become a state. Churches and schools will soon be 
built, and many of the comforts and some of the luxuries 
will begin to appear, for these people are coming out of 
the East, and they will implant in the West a phase of 
their own civilization, which is a little less strenuous than 
that to which the frontier has been accustomed. 

The Honorable Andrew Jackson of Tennessee pur- 
chases a suit of broadcloth for thirty dollars. He hopes to 
cut quite a figure in Philadelphia, a city of sixty-five 
thousand inhabitants, and the center of all that the young 
republic can boast of the intelligent and the refined. Al- 
bert Gallatin, a leading member of Congress at this time, 
will recall Jackson many years later and describe him: 
''A tall, lank, uncouth looking personage, with long locks 



of hair hanging over his face, and a queue down his back 
tied in an eel skin; his dress singular, his manners and 
deportment those of a rough backwoodsman." The ele- 
gant Gallatin — European to the core — for all his par- 
tiality toward his adopted country, is not a seer, for 
he fails to foresee that the rough backwoodsmen, despite 
their lack of Philadelphia manners and Congressional de- 
portment, are building a democracy on a new continent, 
not debating it in the security of social position and politi- 
cal preferment. 

Even Martha Washington, one day during the second 
term of her husband's Administration, rebukes her niece, 
Nellie Custis, for having entertained "one of those filthy 
Democrats" in the Executive Mansion. 


And who was a ''filthy Democrat" when Jackson 
reached Philadelphia to take his seat in Congress? He 
was one who sympathized ardently with the French 
Revolution and believed the United States was doubly 
bound — by gratitude and by union of principles — to aid 
the French Republic against the 'leagued despotisms." 
He believed it was due humanity that England be hum- 
bled; he opposed the compromising measures of General 
Washington's Administration; he detested Alexander 
Hamilton's financial system, the National Bank, and its 
issues of paper money; more, he hated Hamilton, who 
believed in the rule of an aristocracy of money; he hated 
kings, princes and privileged orders, and espoused warmly 
the principles of democracy as set forth in the Declara- 
tion and specified in the enabling act — Federal Constitu- 



tlon. He was, in sum, a follower of Jefferson, who 
unfurled the banner of equal rights, and laid it down 
as an axiom of freedom that ''that government is best 
which governs least." This, in fine, was Andrew Jackson's 
political complexion in 1 796. 

Two days after Jackson takes his seat in Congress, 
President Washington appears before that body to de- 
liver his last annual address. The tone of the oration is 
partisan. The republicans are incensed. 

The committee of the House, among whose members 
we find James Madison, prepares an answer to the re- 
tiring President in similar spirit. The republican bloc, or 
insurgents, in the House object to being made to declare 
they approve of the measures of Washington's Adminis- 
tration. They try, but fail, to obtain an amendment that 
will soften the reply and neutralize it from their stand- 

When the House's reply of indorsement of General 
Washington is put to a vote, twelve out of fifty-six mem- 
bers oppose it ; among the twelve are Andrew Jackson and 
Edward Livingston, of New York, the latter a republican 
in theory, but an aristocrat by temperament, training and 
culture. Livingston's vote against Washington is suf- 
ficient to endear him to Jackson, and a friendship is 
formed in the House between them that shall endure all 
of their lives. Livingston will be raised to high place. 

The chief issue that impels the insurgents to oppose 
indorsement of Washington's regime is John Jay's treaty 
with England. By the terms of this treaty England prom- 
ises redress to but few of the wrongs of which the United 
States has complained. It leaves England free to impress 



American sailors ; it leaves her free to prohibit American 
trade with the French colonies ; it permits England to 
confiscate French goods on American vessels. It provides 
for the early evacuation of western forts, which the 
British are still holding despite the stipulations of 1783. 
It is impossible for republicans to accept this treaty. 

In New York, Alexander Hamilton has attempted to 
make a speech in defense of the treaty and he is driven 
from the platform with a volley of stones. In Boston the 
streets are chalked with inscriptions that read : "Damn 
every one that won't sit up all night damning John Jay." 
Republicans are wondering: Why the separation from 
England in 1776 if the American nation approves a treaty 
like this one twenty years later? 

For the rest, Jackson's service in the House does not 
distinguish him as a statesman, but he obtains the pas- 
sage of two measures which greatly increase his popu- 
larity in Tennessee. One is a bill to place a regiment on 
the southern border of the state for protection against 
Indians, and the other is a bill to pay those who par- 
ticipated as Territorial troops in the unauthorized Nicka- 
jack Expedition of 1793. This bill was debated at length, 
with Jackson several times on his feet, before its final 
passage, which was accomplished with the leadership of 
Madison, who rose frequently in Jackson's behalf. 


Jackson's days in Philadelphia are full of tedium. In 

no sense does he become a part of the city's social life, 

and into its circles of culture he has no passport. In his 

letters to his friends back home, which are in the na- 



ture of reports to his constituency, there is a note of 
yearning to be among them, loitering over the bars, racing 
horses and fighting cocks. He writes to Colonel Hays, 
his brother-in-law, on January 8, 1797: 

'The Directory of France has given orders to their 
armed vessels to capture all american vessels bound to or 
from a British port which is bottomed on the Decree, to 
Treat all Nutral flags in the same manner Nutral flags 
suffer themselves to be treated by the english, the eng- 
lish still continuing their Captures of our vessels when 
bound to a french port. In what this may end I cannot 
Conjecture . . . The Legislature of the Union progresses 
slowly in business the greater part of the time as yet has 
been taken up in committess prepareing business for the 
house. . . . take care of my little rachael untill I re- 
turn . . . Adams will be president and Jeferson vice. 
Adams has 71 votes Jeferson 68." 

To Governor Sevier he writes a few weeks later : 

'T am sorry to see our Country by the Conduct of 
our Government involved in such a situation with the 
republick of France, who are now struggling to obtain 
for themselves the same Blessings that we fought and 
bled for, we ought to wish them success if we could not 
aid them. How the present difference with France May 
terminate is for wiser Politicians than Me to Determine." 

On the third of March, Congress having adjourned, 
Jackson bids farewell to the few friends he has made 



while in Philadelphia — among them Aaron Burr and Ed- 
ward Livingston. His heart is considerably lighter as he 
rides back over the trail toward the Cumberland. The 
business of being a statesman has been a bit wearisome 
to this tall man from Tennessee, who is accustomed to 
action and finding plenty of it. 

An enthusiastic throng greets Jackson as he gallops 
into Nashville. Reports of his activities at the nation's 
capital have in every way been satisfactory to the natives, 
especially since, due to his exertions, every man in Ten- 
nessee who had seen service or lost property as a con- 
sequence of the Indian wars might expect compensation 
from the government. 

Accordingly, there having occurred a vacancy in the 
state's senatorial representation, Jackson is overwhelm- 
ingly elected a United States Senator. He knows the 
election is a compliment to his services in the House, but 
he is reluctant to accept the higher post. He feels keenly 
his inability to cope with the shrewd minds in the United 
States Senate. He has no stomach for the business. 

Still, in November, 1797, Jackson is back in Philadel- 
phia. President Adams, Congress and the country are wait- 
ing to see what will be the result of the negotiations with 
France. Will it be peace, or war ? The President will have 
a hard time getting the country, particularly the West, in 
the mood to fight France, for there is a pronounced sen- 
timent in America for Bonaparte. Jackson remains a 
Bonapartist to the end of Napoleon's career at Saint 



Meanwhile, he is busy with the arrangement of the 
dispute between Tennessee and the government on the 
question of the Cherokee boundary. He writes to General 
Robertson : 

''Congressional business progresses slowly; all impor- 
tant questions postponed until we are informed of the 
result of our negotiation with France. The Tennessee 
Memorial (boundary dispute) has attracted the attention 
of the two Houses for some time . . . France has finally 
concluded a treaty with the Emperor and the King of 
Sardinia, and is now turning her force toward Great 
Britain. Bonaparte, with one hundred and fifty thousand 
troops (used to conquer) is ordered to the coast, and 
called the army of England. Do not then be surprised if 
my next letter should announce a revolution in England 
. . . Should Bonaparte make a landing on the English 
shore, tyranny will be humbled, a throne crushed, and 
a republic will spring from the wreck, and millions of 
distressed people restored to the rights of man by the 
conquering arm of Bonaparte." 

Senator Jackson votes against the Alien and Sedition 
bill, which President Adams has sponsored for the pur- 
pose of suppressing opposition in the country to his 
foreign policy. Writing to Senator Mason, of Virginia, 
an extreme republican (Democrat) like himself, Jackson 
expresses his view of this measure quite forcefully: 

"... I really fear it will pass the other House, so 
ready do our Countrymen seem to 'court the Yoke and 

1 08 


bow the neck to Caesar.' A committee of the Senate are 
appointed to bring in an AlHen Bill, by which I under- 
stand it is intended to give the Prest an absolute power 
according to his discretion, his caprice or his resentment, 
any Foreigner he pleases. A Sedition Bill is also intended 
to authorize the same omnipotent person to muzzle or 
silence such presses as he pleases, probably to controul 
and regulate meetings of the people, and perhaps to banish 
such political Infidels as you and myself, for such is the 
intolerance of J A (John Adams) and his party." 

There is nothing new under the sun ! In 191 7, when the 
United States government entered the World War on 
the side of the Allied Powers against Germany and the 
Central Powers, President Wilson, an idealist and a 
Democrat, sponsored an Alien Bill and a Sedition Bill, 
called the Espionage Act. Under its terms many honest 
persons were imprisoned for their opinions, and millions 
of others, imbued with the spirit of Democracy, gasped, 
for they could not believe a free government would dare 
stifle sincere minority opinion. It could happen even when 
the republic was being managed by men who fought and 
bled in the War for Independence! Small wonder Jack- 
son was amazed. But why the astonishment in 191 7 when 
1776 had already faded into a legend, and liberty had be- 
come a statue? 


Jackson is plainly displeased with his task. In April, 
1798, he takes leave of the Senate, goes home to Nashville 
and resigns his seat. He feels himself out of place in 



Philadelphia, and he is disgusted with the Adams Ad- 
ministration and its projects. His contact with Vice Presi- 
dent Jefferson has been slight, but he still carries away 
with him an immense admiration for the philosopher of 
Monticello whose philosophy Jackson does not grasp and 
never will. 


Chapter IX 



JACKSON has scarcely divested himself of senatorial 
dust and made up his mind to devote the rest of his 
life — he is only thirty-one — to keeping a general store 
and managing his farm and slaves, when the legislature 
elects him a judge of the State Supreme Court. He is 
plainly dismayed, for he distrusts his ability to administer 
the law even in a backwoods court where exact knowledge 
of jurisprudence is neither expected nor required. These 
natives would much rather have an ounce of justice than 
a pound of law, and Jackson, knowing this, prepares to 
give them their due. It is doubtful if a more unlearned 
judge ever sat on a bench, and it would be equally dif- 
ficult to find one more determined to dispense justice ac- 
cording to his lights. 

There is not one decision of Judge Jackson's on record, 
for they were not kept in his day. Recorded decisions 
began with his successor, Judge Overton. Jackson holds 
this post for six years, and while his decisions will be 
brief, untechnical and ungrammatical, tradition will say 
they were generally right. He will maintain the dignity 
and the authority of the bench at all hazards, and they 
will indeed be many. 



He will hold court in due succession at Nashville, Jones- 
boro, and Knoxville — three distant corners of the state 
— and the perils of the frontier and the wilderness, that 
he encountered so often while riding this circuit as Prose- 
cuting Attorney, will be repeated in his six years as 

Jackson begins his stormy career as a Judge by hurling 
a challenge for a duel to William Cocke, one of the first 
United States Senators from Tennessee. As he grows 
toward maturity and the years begin to whiten his long 
sandy hair his temper grows correspondingly shorter. 

It is almost as if he had the sense of being a little boy 
again and he imagines his playmates are constantly pick- 
ing on him because he is poor, or because he slobbers, or 
because his legs are too long, and his hair is too red. 
As a man he is sensitive of his shortcomings, sensitive 
of the blunder attending his marriage, fearful lest any- 
one will not think he is as important as he knows he is. 
A century hence — 1928 — such subconscious feelings as his 
will have been reduced into the science of psychology, and 
the trouble bothering Andrew Jackson will be given the 
high-sounding label, ''Complex." Senator Cocke means 
him no ill, but Jackson does not take the trouble to in- 
quire or reason whether he does or not. Off goes his 
letter : 

Sir : Your making publick my private and confidential 
letter and making use of it to impress on the publick mind 
that I wrote that letter in order to deceive you, and 
further publishing to the world that I had acted the 



double part with you in your election for Senator, are 
such injuries as require Satisfaction, the information 
which you have attempted to justify those charges and 
ground the publicity of my letter upon having upon in- 
vestigating proved to be false, Justice calls aloud for Re- 
dress, the Gentleman who will hand you this is authorized 
to transact the Business on My part. 

Andrew Jackson. 

The spirit and import of this letter is repeated by Jack- 
son in three other letters within as many days, but the 
matter blows over, for Senator Cocke is more tractable 
than Jackson and not nearly as good a shot. But this is 
only a rehearsal for what is to come. Indeed, Jackson 
seems to merit Jefferson's description of him as reported 
by Daniel Webster many years later when Webster's feel- 
ing against Jackson ran high. Webster quotes Jefferson : 
**When I was President of the Senate he was a Senator, 
and he could never speak on account of the rashness of 
his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and 
as often choke with rage." 

But Jackson's temper does not prevent him from in- 
dulging his playful moods, for often when he leaves the 
bench in any one of the three towns where he holds court 
he will go straight to the race track, or to the arena where 
cocks are fought, and bet his week's salary and even more 
on a chicken or a horse. The emoluments of his high 
office are six hundred dollars a year; this is the second 
highest pay for a public office, as the Governor receives 
only seven hundred and fifty dollars a year. There is 



nothing top-lofty about him; he endears himself to these 
backwoodsmen and becomes their idol; they know if they 
get into trouble through no fault of their own, Jackson 
will get them out, with or without benefit of law. 

Let a man be contemptuous of the law, however, and 
Judge Jackson will humble him. Russell Bean, the giant, 
the first white man born in Tennessee and the terror of 
the frontier, finds this out. This is the same Bean who 
helped Jackson put out a tavern fire. 

One day Judge Jackson is holding court in a village 
shanty. A great hulking fellow. Bean, no less, armed with 
a pistol and a bowie knife, parades before the court- 
house, and curses the Judge and jury and all assembled 
therein in words of one syllable. It is not the language 
that shocks the Court, for Judge Jackson is unbeatable 
in forming classic combinations of profanity, but his eyes 
are ablaze with fury at this assault upon the Majesty of 
the Law. 

''Sheriff!" thunders the Judge, "arrest that man for 
contempt of court and confine him !" The Sheriff goes out 
and returns as quickly, reporting that he cannot take the 

''Summon a posse, then," Jackson roars, "and bring 
him before me." 

Again the Sheriff goes forth and rounds up a squad of 
strong-arm men to help him make the arrest. Bean sees 
the posse approaching and bellows that he will "shoot the 
first skunk that comes within ten feet." 

The Sheriff returns to court and reports no progress. 



Jackson's patience is exhausted. No man shall defy his 
authority, privately or publicly. *'Mr. Sheriff, since you 
cannot obey my orders, summon me; yes sir, summon 
me." The Sheriff accordingly orders Judge Jackson to 
make the arrest himself, and the Judge adjourns court 
for ten minutes. He picks up his pistols reposing beside 
the law books on the bench and strides forth. Bean is 
standing in the center of a crowd, waving his weapons 
and vowing death to all who attempt to molest him. The 
crowd is now certain they will witness a killing. 

Judge Jackson, hatless, with pistols in hand, walks into 
the center of the group. He looks Bean straight in the 

''Surrender, you infernal villain, this very instant, or 
by God Almighty I'll blow you through as wide as a 
gate !" For a second both men glare at one another. Bean 
drops his weapons and caves in. Asked by the Sheriff 
later why he knuckled under to one man, Bean said: 
''When he came up, I looked him in the eye, and I saw 
shoot, and there wasn't shoot in nary other eye in the 

Judge Jackson's feud with Governor John Sevier now 
opens. There are several reasons for this, but the chief 
one is that Governor Sevier told Jackson to his face that 
the only public service he ever heard of Jackson perform- 
ing was to run off with another man's wife. "Great God !" 
Jackson exclaimed. "Do you mention her sacred name?" 
A challenge to a duel follows. But there were some mat- 
ters that led up to this. The year is 1801, and Jackson has 
gained an advantage over Sevier which is calculated to 
wound and disgust the impetuous old soldier, victor in 



many, many battles, and now being forced to compete 
with Jackson as the bravest, and therefore the most popu- 
lar, man in the state. 

Sevier in 1801 is out of office. The major general- 
ship of the militia of Tennessee is vacant, and the two 
warriors are candidates for the post. The office of major 
general is in the gift of field officers, who are empowered 
by the State Constitution to elect their chief. Jackson is 
away holding court when the day comes for the vote. 
It is a tie between Sevier and the Judge, and Governor 
Roane, being commander-in-chief of the militia, gives 
his vote to Jackson. This is actually the beginning of 
Jackson's military career, although he will not have an 
opportunity to put his leadership to the test for some 
years. Still, his prestige is immense. A military office of 
this kind on the frontier is not a matter of showy gal- 
loping and pomp. A man is chosen General because of 
his ability to lead his men when danger impends, and the 
Indian menace in Tennessee is a real affair. Jackson has 
been elected Major General because he is esteemed by the 
militiamen as the best and bravest man in the whole state 
for that task. His political record has not figured in the 
equation. Sevier is humbled. 

Judge Jackson also has exposed the fact that public 
lands in Tennessee have been fraudulently bought and 
sold, and that some of these lands were obtained by no 
less a person than Sevier, then Governor of the State. 
It was quite a scandal on the frontier. Although Sevier 
was innocent of moral wrong-doing, he was technically 
guilty because he shared in the loot. This was another 
cause of the feud. A year or two later Sevier is again 



running for Governor, and the old animosities break 
out anew. 

In 1803, Jackson is traveling from Nashville to Jones- 
boro where he will hold court. He meets a friend along 
the trail who informs him that when he reaches Jonesboro 
he will be mobbed by Sevier's henchmen. Jackson spurs 
his horse on to Jonesboro. When he reaches the town he 
is ill with fever. He has been scarcely able to sit on his 
mount during the long arduous ride. No sooner does he 
go to the tavern and to bed than a friend calls and says 
Colonel Harrison "and a regiment of men" are in front 
of the tavern ready to tar and feather him. His friend 
advises Jackson to bolt and bar his door, as Harrison 
''means business." 

Judge Jackson rises and throws his door wide open. 

''Give my compliments to Colonel Harrison, and tell 
him my door is open to receive him and his regiment 
whenever they choose to wait upon me, and that I hope 
the Colonel's chivalry will induce him to lead his men, 
not follow them." Jackson sits on the side of the bed, 
for he is too ill to stand, facing the door, a pistol in each 

The "regiment" think better of their purpose and dis- 
perse. A few days later Jackson writes to his friend, John 
Hutchings, in Nashville: 

"I have been much threatened at Jonesborough by the 
Sevierites whilst sick, but as soon as I got upon my legs, 
from the fierceness of lyons, they softened down to the 
Gentleness of lambs, there is no spirit amongst them. If 
a man was alone without arms, a mob of fifty might make 



an attack, but they knew I was prepared, and they sneaked 
to their Den." 


From Jonesboro Judge Jackson proceeds to Knoxville, 
the capital of the state. The legislature is in session at 
the residence of Governor Sevier, who has succeeded 
Roane. With the convening of the Supreme Court, the 
streets of the town are filled with people, loitering about 
the public buildings and talking loudly and wildly about 
the issues of the day, which chiefly concern the feud be- 
tween the Governor and Judge of the Supreme Court 
and Major General of the militia. Judge Jackson enters 
the court-house and all is well. He holds his court with- 
out molestation, but as he re-appears he sees Governor 
Sevier haranguing a crowd in the public square. The 
Judge stalks in upon the scene. A wild altercation ensues, 
and only the friends of the Governor and the Judge pre- 
vent them from flying at each other's throats. It is at 
this point that Sevier forgets himself and makes the 
slurring reference to Mrs. Jackson. 

Judge Jackson rushes to the tavern and indites a sting- 
ing letter to the Governor : 

**The ungentlemanly expressions, and gasgonading con- 
duct of yours," he writes, ''relative to me was in true 
character of yourself, and unmasks you to the world, and 
plainly shews that they were the ebulitions of a base mind 
goaded with stubborn proof of fraud (refers to the land 
case), and flowing from a source devoid of every delicate 
and refined sensation. But sir, the voice of the people 



has made you Governor, this alone makes you worthy of 
my notice." 

Jackson demands an interview with the Governor, con- 
cluding, ''my friend and myself will be armed with pistols 
— you cannot mistake me or my meaning." 

Sevier replies that he will give Jackson ''satisfaction," 
but not in the State of Tennessee. This draws another 
hot retort from the Judge, for the next day he writes : 
"Did you take the name of a lady (Mrs. Jackson) into 
your pollutted lips in Knoxville ? Did you challenge me to 
draw, when you were armed with a cutlass and I with 
a cane, and now sir, in the neighborhood of Knoxville 
you shall atone for it or I will publish you as a coward 
and a paltroon." Jackson says he refuses to travel to 
Kentucky, Georgia, or North Carolina to blow the head 
off the Governor of Tennessee. A paper war follows, and 
finally it is agreed the belligerents shall meet for a duel 
just beyond the state line. Judge Jackson is on the spot 
at the appointed time, but he waits there two days, for 
the Governor has not appeared. 

The Judge gallops off toward Knoxville, determined 
Sevier shall not evade him. On the road toward the town 
he sees the Governor approaching, accompanied by a 
cavalcade. Jackson sends one of his henchmen ahead with 
a letter to Sevier recounting their differences. The Gov- 
ernor refuses to receive the letter, and this rebuff angers 
Jackson beyond all patience. He charges forth, like the 
knights of old, leveling his cane as if it were a javelin. 
The Governor is amazed at this gesture and topples off 
his horse. Jackson dismounts and draws his pistols, when 



friends of both men intervene, and the trouble is patched 
up, or seemingly so; but the men will never be friends. 
This nonsense impairs Judge Jackson's popularity in the 

While this racket has been In progress, the business of 
the Supreme Court of Tennessee suspends, the legisla- 
ture has recessed, and the sporting men of the community 
have placed bets on the results of the duel. Meanwhile, 
Judge Jackson has found time to write home to Rachel, 
telling her nothing whatsoever of his encounter with 
Governor Sevier. Instead, he says he is sending her a 
package of garden seed. Also, he expresses the wish that 
his slave * 'Aston has been brought to a perfect state of 
obedience." He hopes that ''happiness will surround" his 
Rachel "until I have the pleasure of seeing you." 

A little later Judge Jackson quarrels with his old 
friend Judge McNairy because the Judge has found it 
necessary to remove General Robertson from the Chick- 
asaw Agency, which lost their mutual friend, Searcy, his 
post as clerk in the agency. Neither man quite loses his 
temper over this matter, but their friendship cools. 

Thomas Jefferson had come in as President of the 
United States, succeeding John Adams, who was greatly 
surprised and chagrined over his failure to obtain re- 
election. In fact, Adams was so hurt that he refused to 
attend Jefferson's inauguration, and rode away from 
Philadelphia in a coach, to sulk in Massachusetts. Jef- 
ferson was the first President to be inaugurated in Wash- 
ington. His election, also, marked the beginning of the 

1 20 


end of the Federalist Party, and the launching of the 
Democratic Party, of which he was the founder. 

Jefferson was an expansionist. In 1803 the purchase of 
Louisiana was effected, and Jackson hoped he might re- 
ceive from President Jefferson the appointment as Gov- 
ernor of that Territory. In fact, this post, which was 
perhaps the only one that Jackson really coveted and 
sought, was particularly desired by him at this time be- 
cause he had grown weary of the bench, riding the cir- 
cuit, and all the fol-de-rol that a judgeship entailed even 
in those backwoods days. But the appointment went to 
W. C. C. Claiborne, and Judge Jackson's estimate of 
Thomas Jefferson declined in proportion to his disap- 

The truth of the matter is, Jefferson feared to appoint 
Jackson to the post. He had known him in the Senate, and 
although the President admired the tall man from Ten- 
nessee for certain striking qualities that are concomitant 
w^ith clean and robust manhood, he felt he could not trust 
him with a mission that required tact and infinite patience, 
neither of which Jackson possessed. 

However, on July 24, 1804, Judge Jackson presents 
his resignation to the legislature and it is accepted. At 
least one signal honor has been done his name. In the 
Cumberland region a new county had been named Jack- 
son. There will be innumerable cities, towns, counties 
and streets named for Jackson when the white men really 
get their stride. 


Chapter X 

GENERAL JACKSON believes he is through with 
official and public life, barring such future en- 
counters as may be necessary to keep the Indians from 
encroaching upon the Tennessee side of the Cherokee 
boundary. As he will continue to be Major General of 
the State Militia, any need for troops to preserve order 
in the state, or for purposes of intervention in Indian 
territory, naturally will issue from his command. Four 
months before he presented his resignation as Judge, he 
hinted to Rachel his desire to retire from the bench : 

Knoxville, April 6, 1804. 
My Love : I have this moment reed, your letter of the 
24th of March, and what sincere regret it gives me on 
the one hand to view your distress of mind, and what 
real pleasure it would afford me on the other to return 
to your arms dispel those clouds that hover around you 
and retire to some peaceful grove to spend our days in 
solitude and domestic quiet ... I have wrote you every 
post since I left you and will continue to do so until I 
leave Philadelphia, should I go that far. I am compelled 
to quit writing. I am sent for to court. I shall write you 



fully before I leave this place, and may all the ruling 
power give you health and Peace of Mind untill I am 
restored to your arms is the sincere supplication of your 

Andrew Jackson. 

General Jackson has discovered that his four excur- 
sions into public pursuits thus far — Federal Attorney 
General for the Southwestern Territory, Representative 
in Congress from Tennessee, United States Senator, and 
Judge of the State Supreme Court — all have tended to 
convince him that his forte lies not in the realm of legis- 
lative or civil administrative activities. He is primarily 
a military man who possesses sufficient political convic- 
tions to give direction and purpose to his soldierly at- 
tributes. But since there are no wars to be fought, and 
as the Indians are quiescent for the present. General Jack- 
son turns his attention to commerce. And he has much 
need of doing so, for during the six years that he has 
been a Judge his private affairs have been going from bad 
to worse. In fact, the condition of his estate was per- 
haps the biggest factor in his retirement from the bench. 

In 1798, while still holding his seat as Senator, Jack- 
son apparently looked forward to a business career in 
Nashville. In that year he sold to David Allison, a rich 
Philadelphian, who desired to invest in the golden promise 
of the West, thousands of his own acres for six thousand 
six hundred and seventy-six dollars. Allison, it may be 
supposed, purchased the land purely for speculation. He 
expected to sell it again in small parcels to the settlers at 
a profit, of course. Allison paid for the land in three 



promissory notes. So high a standing did Allison have, 
that Jackson was able to buy with these ''gilt-edged" notes 
in Philadelphia a supply of goods suitable for the set- 
tlements on the Cumberland. He shipped his stock in 
wagons to Pittsburgh, by flat-boat down the Ohio River 
to Louisville, and again by wagons to Nashville. Then he 
resigned his seat, expecting to return home and become 
a trader. But instead, he was elected to the Supreme Court. 

Jackson thereupon formed a partnership with John 
Hutchings and John Coffee, both of whom were, or about 
to be, related to him by marriage. He expected his part- 
ners to run the business, and he w^ould give it occasional 
attention in the recesses between the terms of court. 

Jackson was scarcely back in Nashville in 1798 when 
news reached him that Allison had been caught in the 
panic which then was sweeping over the country. Jack- 
son's creditors, from whom he had purchased his goods 
for a general store, held the notes, indorsed by Jackson, 
against him. He lived then upon a plantation called 
Hunter's Hill, thirteen miles from Nashville, and two 
miles from the Hermitage that w^ould be built later. He 
had built a store on Hunter's Hill, and it had prospered 
after a fashion, prior to the crash. There was one nar- 
row window in the store from which he sold goods to 
the Indians, who were excluded from the interior be- 
cause of what the traders called their thieving propensi- 

The sums that Jackson owned to Philadelphia creditors 
on Allison's notes had to be paid in real money. To do 
this, he sold thirty-three thousand more acres of land at 



twenty-five cents an acre, and managed to pay off everv 
cent of his indebtedness as the notes came due. His ex- 
perience, bitter as it was, which would greatly reduce his 
financial strength, would be used by him later on — al- 
though he did not know it then — in smashing the Second 
Bank of the United States. This was the genesis of 
Jackson's war against the Bank — a war in which he 
would emerge the victor, and which would revolutionize 
the currency system of the United States. But of this — 
more later. 

Jackson's fine estate on Hunter's Hill was absorbed 
in the crash, but he was not a man to haggle over his 
losses. He closed out the store, sold many of his slaves 
for debts, and moved to a smaller plantation eight miles 
from Nashville. This ground was unimproved, but Jack- 
son, though impoverished and in debt, succeeded in put- 
ting the farm in excellent condition. Upon Hunter's Hill 
he had built a fine frame house. It was one of the first 
dwellings in the region not built of logs. In the crash, he 
had to sacrifice this, and go back to a log cabin in which 
he and Rachel had begun their lives together on the 

During the six years he was on the bench Rachel at- 
tended to the farm and managed the slaves. She was im- 
mensely competent in such matters; but her lord, for all 
his fondness for the race track and the cock-pit, also was 
a capable manager, especially in larger affairs. The place 
where he was living in 1804, when he retired from the 



bench, was the Hermitage. It would be his home for the 
rest of his life and was destined to become one of the 
famous shrines in America. 

So, as Jefferson is about to begin his second term as 
President, Jackson, having laid aside his judicial robes, 
is about to open his second general store on the frontier 
of Tennessee. He is determined that this one shall be suc- 
cessful. Coffee and Hutchings are again his partners — 
General Jackson is notorious for finding jobs for his 
wife's numerous relatives — and they open a fair-sized 
store at Clover Bottom, four miles from the Hermitage 
and seven from Nashville. Every day. General Jackson 
mounts his horse and goes to business, leaving Rachel 
to superintend the farm and the slaves. And Andrew 
Jackson is a progressive farmer. He owns one of the 
first cotton gins brought into Davidson County. It was 
an innovation, for Eli Whitney, of Connecticut, had in- 
vented it only as recently as 1793. 

Under his watchful eye the store at Clover Bottom 
does fairly well, and in a short while he opens a branch 
store at Gallatin, in Sumner County, twenty-six miles 
from Nashville. It seems to have been Jackson's idea to 
open a third store, with each of his partners as the mana- 
ger of one of them. Thus, the scheme of chain stores, 
monopolizing the trade in standardized products, is con- 
sidered a possibility a century before Woolworth. 

The firm of Jackson, Coffee & Hutchings deal in dry 
goods, salt, grindstones, hardware, gunpowder, whisky 
and miscellaneous products. The payment they receive for 
these commodities is not money — for real money is ex- 
tremely scarce in the West — but cotton, ginned and un- 



ginned, wheat, corn, tobacco, pork and skins. This prod- 
uce is sent in flatboats down to Natchez where it is sold 
for the market in New Orleans. The Jackson firm, which 
is established on a branch of the Cumberland River, also 
builds boats for other traders. In addition to this. General 
Jackson makes horse flesh a source of profit, as well as 
human flesh, for he deals in slaves frequently. 


There is his record, dated January 17, 1801, showing 
certain expenditures: 

To one Negro Wench named Fancy .... $280.00 
To two Negroe weaman Betty & Hanah. . 550.00 
To Merchandize from John Anderson.. 15.18% 
To Cash Pd Taylor for making Coat. ... 3.00 

$848. 1 8K 

General Jackson has never considered the question of 
whether slavery is right or wrong. He accepts the in- 
stitution as he found it. There does not occur a word in 
his voluminous letters to suggest that he ever gave a 
thought to the moral side of the system. There is plenty 
of evidence that Jackson is a thoughtful, patient, even 
indulgent, master. His slaves are fond of him, and there 
arises a great howl among them when rumor comes that 
some are to be sold. They would rather stay right here 
with Massah Jackson. Even his overseers complain oc- 
casionally that there is laxity of discipline on the estate 
due to the master's indulgence. But he pays no heed to 



these complaints. He knows, and so do the slaves know, 
that when he wants something done they will do it will- 
ingly and as well as they can. They love him, and when 
the time comes for him to die, one hundred and fifty 
black people, his bond servants, will set up a chorus of 
weeping and wailing. 

General Jackson is a kind, courteous and tender man 
to those who do his bidding, knuckle under, and be- 
lieve wholly and sincerely that he is unfailingly right. To 
those who believe thus and manifest their belief, he is 
all gentleness. Toward those who oppose him he is re- 
lentless and ruthless. 

Jackson's credit is high in the community. His name 
signed to paper is as good as money anywhere in Ten- 
nessee, and beyond. All know he is scrupulously honest, 
that he would not take advantage of any man for any 
reason. He sells his goods at prices current, no more 
and no less. 

*'I will give or take so much," he says. "If you will 
trade, say so and have done with it; if not, let it alone.'' 
He abominates paper money because he regards it in 
the light of a promise to pay. He will promise nothing, 
law or no law, that he thinks is unjust, or which he can- 
not meet. 

Still, the store does not appear to be profitable. The 
firm has made a number of bad debts. In addition, as 
there is no mail between Nashville and the lower Missis- 
sippi country to guide them, the Jackson firm has fre- 
quently shipped products to New Orleans and found the 
market glutted. Another factor is the high cost of bring- 



ing goods from New York and Philadelphia to the Cum- 
berland. The shipping charges narrow the margin of 
profit so greatly that there is small use of handling cer- 
tain kinds of goods even if they can be obtained. Prices 
on the Cumberland are about three times those in Phila- 
delphia. Combine all this with the fact that the Cumber- 
land people are mostly "land poor," that real money is 
virtually unknown in Tennessee in 1805, and there exists 
plenty of reason why General Jackson should grow tired 
of being a tradesman. 

After a few years more of this, he will sell out his 
interest in the business to his partners. He will take notes 
from his partner, John Coffee, payable at long intervals, 
for his share. Then Coffee will marry a niece of Rachel 
Jackson, and on their wedding day General Jackson will 
go to his strong box, take out Coffee's notes, tear them 
in halves and present them to the bride, with a gracious 
bow — and General Jackson can bow magnificently to the 

Throughout these store-keeping days, Jackson by no 
means neglects the race track, the cock -pit, or the taverns. 
Cards are played wherever two men find themselves to- 
gether with nothing to do. To cheat at these games, or 
in the betting, is tantamount to the offender committing 
suicide. Most any Saturday afternoon General Jackson 
can be found at the cock-pit. He is a little hilarious, but 
never drunk. His courtliness and an innate sense of re- 
finement never desert him. In the East they will call him 
a brawler, but on the frontier General Jackson is a gen- 
tleman — and the frontier, with its taverns, its race track 



and its cock-pit, knows a gentleman when it sees him. No 
matter what else the backwoods may deal in, it breeds 
real men. None others can survive its ordeals and its guns. 


The American nation was born with the highest of 
hopes. Its founders had written a political Lord's prayer 
and then proceeded to batter down whatever stood as an 
obstacle to their ideology. It was not only Cornwallis 
that had surrendered at Yorktown, but the political de- 
mons of the world had capitulated before the strong arm 
and stout heart of High Purpose, which was thought to 
be given exclusively to Americans, who translated it into 
the Declaration of Independence. Our victory started us 
off with just a little swagger. The War for Independence 
introduced among the people of early America — people 
of simple rustic minds and customs — the practice of 
resorting to arms for the settlement of disputes. Virtually 
every boy and man who participated in that conflict af- 
fected the tone and title of a soldier thenceforth. They 
were excessively sensitive in the matter of personal rights, 
and invoked what they called the Code of Honor at every 
little whip-stitch. 

Each hugged to himself the delusion that he was the 
personal custodian of the Declaration and the Constitu- 
tion. Also, that he must uphold and assert his personal 
Code of Honor by demanding "Satisfaction" from who- 
soever impinges that Code. Hence a strong sense of in- 
dividualism was created. It seems to be less apparent in 
the second quarter of the Twentieth Century. But on the 
frontier it was different. Everything seemed to be against 



civilization — Idleness, Indians, and Isolation; Whisky 
and Wilderness. 

Men took to dueling as a matter of course. It affirmed 
their soldierly concepts; it exalted them as brave men 
willing to die for the Code of Honor; it furnished a 
tremendous amount of excitement in the days when the 
people had no daily newspapers nor motion pictures with 
which to stimulate their emotions; it also offered a mar- 
velous display of sportsmanship for the participants. It 
was the thing to do. It was the age of the gentle savage. 

From 1790 to 1810 the people of the South and West 
were given to dueling as nowhere else in the American 
nation. As late as 1834, fifteen duels were fought in New 
Orleans on a Sabbath morning. One hundred and two 
were fought between January i and the end of April in 
the same city. General William Henry Harrison reported 
that there were more duels in the northwestern army 
between 1791 and 1795, than ever took place in the same 
length of time and amongst so small a body of men as 
composed the commissioned officers of the army, either 
in America or any other country. 

General Jackson was one of the leading duelists of the 
frontier. His personal encounters are said to have num- 
bered well over a hundred. Now he is about to march 
forth to a killing. 



Chapter XI 

IT is the Autumn of 1805, and the time has arrived 
for one of the greatest horse races in Tennessee. The 
turf, on Stone's River, at Clover Bottom, near Jackson's 
store, is a beautiful circular field, boasting a mile course, 
and with the requisite margin for spectators and their 
vehicles. General Jackson well knows this course, as he 
has patronized the races here for a number of years — 
Spring and Fall — and has trained his own racing colts on 
this turf. He is the owner of the most renowned horse 
in the West, Truxton, which he brought home from Vir- 

Truxton is to be matched with another famous racer, 
Plow Boy, owned by Captain Joseph Ervin. The stakes 
are two thousand dollars, payable in notes on the day 
of the race. The forfeit is eight hundred dollars. Six 
persons are interested in this race particularly, three on 
Jackson's side, and one on Captain Ervin's — his son-in- 
law, Charles Dickinson. For miles around the backwoods- 
men have prepared to come to Clover Bottom for the 
turf event. Then suddenly, for reasons best known to 
himself. Captain Ervin decides to pay the forfeit and call 



off the race. The matter is settled amicably, so everyone 
believes, and the affair is supposed to be at an end. 

But Dickinson appears to have some special grudge 
against Jackson. The reasons are not far to seek. Dickin- 
son is younger than the General by four years; he is a 
lawyer, who also speculates in horses, produce and slaves. 
He has watched Jackson's career for a number of years, 
and is jealous of the tall man's popularity in the state, 
while he, Dickinson, is acknowledged as the best shot 
in Tennessee. Still, he has won no honors at the hands of 
the public who, aside from a coterie of gay blades like 
Dickinson himself, scarcely know his name. Even Jackson 
is but slightly acquainted with him. Those who know 
Dickinson are aware that he is a wild, dissipated young 
man, prone to trade somewhat upon his good looks and 
the fact that he has a certain amount of culture in a com- 
munity which has none. When drunk, he is given to 
talking loosely about those whom he does not like. This 
is his undoing. 

After the matter of the called-off race is adjusted, 
word reaches General Jackson's ears that Dickinson has 
been around the taverns maligning Jackson as an ''adul- 
terer." At the same time he casts serious aspersions upon 
the character of Mrs. Jackson, sneers, takes another drink 
and laughs boisterously. But those within earshot of 
Dickinson do not laugh. They only wonder if he is still 
the crack marksman of Tennessee, for they opine he may 
have need of being quick on the trigger when General 
Jackson hears of this, as he most assuredly will. 

The General loses no time in checking up this report. 
He goes straight to Dickinson and accuses him. Dickinson 



is apologetic, and declares that if he said such things he 
must have been drunk, and Jackson, knowing the young 
lawyer's character by this time, perceives that a man 
might be loose-tongued at a tavern bar and say dangerous 
words carelessly. The General stares grimly in the eyes of 
Dickinson, who deep down within himself winces. But 
the apologies and denials are accepted and the men part. 
There is bad blood between them. Dickinson has com- 
mitted the unpardonable sin. He has spoken the word 
''Adultery" and applied it to Andrew Jackson and his 
wife. Still, maybe he was only drunk. None can say that 
Dickinson is malicious, or is given wantonly to injure 
the feelings of others. Indeed, his reputation is quite the 
contrary. He is a brave young man, civil and courteous, 
with excellent family connections — far more cultured 
than Jackson's — and in polite society would carry off 
the palm as a gentleman. 

All goes well, or seemingly so. Late in December a 
tattler again brings word to Jackson that in a tavern at 
Nashville, Dickinson, deep in his cups, repeated the word 
beginning with the ''scarlet letter," referring it to Jack- 
son and his wife. Now this is too much! It must be ad- 
mitted that the General is exhibiting great restraint. Ear- 
lier in his life, and not so long ago either, he would have 
had Dickinson on the firing line at the first breath of 
insult. But the years are beginning to drape the General's 
shoulders — he is nearly forty — and Rachel's pious in- 
fluence no doubt is having some effect upon him, how- 
ever slight. 

General Jackson this time proceeds to the home of Cap- 
tain Ervin, and advises him to exert his influence over 



his son-in-law so that there shall be an end to Dickinson's 
loose talk. 

"I wish no quarrel with him," declares Jackson. "He is 
being used by my enemies in Nashville to pick a quarrel 
with me. Advise him to stop in time." Ervin knows the 
General's character better than Dickinson, and he car- 
ries Jackson's warning to the wild young man, who laughs 
it off. 

General Jackson is thoroughly aroused. He has come 
to regard Dickinson as a mortal enemy — a man, ap- 
parently, to whom it is impossible to teach good manners 
by persuasion and example. He is determined to keep this 
ugly affair from the ears of Rachel. To inform her of 
it would only wound her and bring back painful mem- 
ories of her few early years with the dour Robards. In 
the evenings when they are together he listens to her 
reading snatches from the Bible — sometimes it is a 
whole chapter of Revelations — and he tries to convince 
himself that he is all rapt attention; but his thoughts 
stride quickly from the Scriptures during her pauses to 
his pistols, and the sneering countenance of Dickinson 
somehow is framed by the flames that lick the great logs 
in the open grate before them. 

In connection with this. General Jackson cannot erase 
from his mind the report that Dickinson is the best shot 
in Tennessee. Should he ever have to face him, he will 
meet more than his equal as a marksman. General Jack- 
son himself is quite a good shot. Pistols are as familiar 
to him as canes. Well, any day may bring this matter to 



a climax, and the General feels he shall need a clear head 
and steady arm. He begins to prepare for whatever may 
be in store by taking a pledge to abstain from drinking 
hard liquor: 

"j^^u^^y 24, 1806 

"General Andrew Jackson and Major John Verrell 
covenant each with the other, that the first of them that 
is known to drink ardent spirits except administered by 
a physician, is to pay, the other a full and compleat suit 
of clothes, Taylor's bill inclusive, this 24th day of Janu- 
ary, 1806. 
Test John Coffee." 

A short time after Jackson takes the pledge (which 
will not for long bind him too strictly to the drinking 
only of water) he encounters Thomas Swann, recently 
arrived in Tennessee from Virginia. He is a very young 
man, already of the legal profession, who immediately 
falls into the companionship of Dickinson. Being a Vir- 
ginian, Swann quite naturally looks upon all westerners 
in much the same way as Robinson Crusoe might have 
regarded his man Friday. They were a herd of baboons, 
to be soothed or suppressed as the occasion might de- 
mand. So thought Mr. Swann, the upstart from Vir- 
ginia. It appears that Dickinson, by dropping a word here 
and there, has communicated to Swann his dislike of 
Jackson, and this is sufficient to convince Swann that the 
General need not be taken too seriously. A controversy, 
in which Swann is made to take a leading part — prob- 
ably at the bidding of Dickinson — immediately arises in 



connection with the character of the notes of forfeiture 
that Captain Ervin has turned over to General Jackson. 

A report is out that the notes tendered were not those 
specified in the original agreement. Swann takes it upon 
himself to ask Jackson if the report about the notes is 
true. He returns to Dickinson and quotes Jackson as re- 
plying in the affirmative. Thereupon, Dickinson goes to 
Jackson and asks him if the report that Swann has 
brought is true, and the General replies that the author 
of it is "a damned liar." Swann, in a letter to Jackson, 
complains that the ''harshness of this expression has 
deeply wounded" his feelings, and he challenges Jackson 
to a duel. But Jackson meets young Mr. Swann in a 
tavern at Nashville and canes him instead. He will not 
waste his shooting arm on one who is merely a pawn of 
Dickinson's. Swann's behavior toward General Jackson 
is like that of a poodle snapping at a wolf. The wolf, 
looking for bigger game, merely slaps the poodle and 
brushes it aside. 

But Jackson supplements his caning of Swann with a 
letter to the Virginian in which he pays his compliments 
to Dickinson. He writes: 

''Let me, sir, observe one thing : that I never wantonly 
sport with the feelings of innocence, nor am I ever awed 
into measures. If incautiously I inflict a wound, I al- 
ways hasten to remove it; if offence is taken where none 
is offered or intended, it gives me no pain . . . When 
the conversation dropt between mr. Dickinson and my- 
self, I thought it was at an end. As he wishes to blow 
the coal, I am ready to light it to a blaze, that it may be 



consumed at once, and finally extinguished. I request you 
to show him this. I set out this morning for Southwest 
Point. Be assured I hold myself answerable for any of 
my conduct, and should any thing herein contained give 
mr. Dickinson the spleen, I will furnish him with an 
anodine as soon as I return." 

In this same letter, Jackson refers to Dickinson as "a 
base poltroon and a cowardly tale-bearer." 

Swann exhibits Jackson's letter to Dickinson, and a 
few days later Dickinson replies to Jackson in a manner 
that makes a duel between them inevitable. 

''As to the word, coward/' Dickinson writes, *1 think 
it is as applicable to yourself as any one I know, and I 
shall be very glad when an opportunity serves to know 
in what manner you give your anodines, and hope you 
will take in payment one of my most moderate ca- 

Having said so much, Dickinson departs on a flat- 
boat for a voyage to New Orleans. When Jackson re- 
ceived this challenge Dickinson was many miles beyond 
hope of receiving the General's reply. And all the time 
Dickinson was away he embraced every idle moment in 
target practice. 


With Dickinson out of the way, Swann proceeds to 
air his grievance against Jackson in the columns of the 
"Impartial Review and Cumberland Repository," the 
editor of which, Thomas Eastin, is related to Jackson by 
marriage. This paper-war continues for several months 



and the natives are duly amused by the constant rehashing 
of the charges and counter-charges involved in the mat- 
ter which, in sum, is ridiculous, barring Dickinson's re- 
peated charge of adultery against Jackson and his wife. 
This is really the root of the matter and keeps the pot 
boiling. Meanwhile, two excited young men, each a vio- 
lent partisan of the major participants in the contro- 
versy — Jackson and Dickinson — are drawn into a duel. 
It is merely one of the preliminaries of the principal bout. 

Dickinson, greatly refreshed by his stay in New Or- 
leans and the leisurely voyage up the Mississippi, re- 
turns to Nashville on May 20, 1806. He is still satisfied 
that he is the best shot in Tennessee, so two days later 
he writes a long and vitriolic attack on General Jackson 
and hands it to Editor Eastin who, since he publishes an 
''Impartial Review/' is bound to print the communication. 

In his letter to the editor, Dickinson writes : "Should 
Andrew Jackson have intended these epithets for me, I 
declare him, notwithstanding he is a Major General of 
the militia of the Mero District, to be a worthless scoun- 
drel, 'a. poltroon and a coward' — a man, who by frivolous 
and evasive pretexts, avoided giving the satisfaction which 
was due to a gentleman whom he had injured ... I 
am well convinced he is too great a coward to administer 
any of those anodines he promised me in his letter to Mr. 

Jackson, informed in advance that this letter was to 
appear, mounts his horse and dashes off to the editor's 
office to read it for himself. One glance at the letter con- 
vinces him that the die is cast. It shall be a duel to the 
death ! 



The same day Jackson's sends a challenge to Dickin- 
son, and the same day it is accepted. The seconds — Gen- 
eral Thomas Overton for Jackson and Dr. Hanson Catlet 
for Dickinson — draw up an agreement in writing: 

**On Friday, the 30th instant, we agree to meet at 
Harrison's Mills on Red River, in Logan County, State 
of Kentucky, for the purpose of settling an affair of 
honor between General Andrew Jackson and Charles 
Dickinson, Esq. It is understood that the meeting will 
be at the hour of seven in the morning." 

When Jackson hears the duel is postponed for a week, 
he is beside himself with rage. Why the delay? he de- 
mands of Overton. Promptly a note is dispatched to 
Dickinson urging the duel at once. Word is returned by 
Dr. Catlet that the delay is essential because Dickinson 
must obtain the proper pistol. Off goes a second appeal 
from Jackson's quarters. He offers Dickinson the choice 
of his own pistols and swears he will use the one dis- 
carded by his adversary. General Andrew Jackson is im- 
patient for the killing — whosoever the victim is to be. 

The seconds meet again a few days before the duel and 
agree upon the following conditions of the combat : 'Tt is 
agreed that the distance shall be twenty-four feet; the 
parties to stand facing each other, with their pistols down 
perpendicularly. When they are ready, the single word. 
Fire, to be given ; at which they are to fire as soon as they 
please. Should either fire before the word is given, we 
pledge ourselves to shoot him down instantly. The person 
to give the word to be determined by lot, as also the choice 



of position. We mutually agree that the above regulations 
shall be observed in the affair of honor depending between 
General Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickinson, Esq." 
Every one on the Cumberland knows the duel is to take 
place, but only those directly concerned know where and 
when. Every day men dismount in front of the editor's 
office and inquire about the duel. Throughout the state, 
betting is laid upon the results, and the odds are against 
Jackson. Dickinson bets five hundred dollars he will topple 
his adversary at the first shot. Jackson puts up not a cent. 
An ancient doom could not be more grim than is the Gen- 
eral. He does not flourish his confidence, but he has plenty 
of it. 


The dawn of the day before the duel finds each man up 
and creeping stealthily about his house. He is going to a 
killing. Jackson tells Rachel he has business in Kentucky 
and will return in tw^o days. Rachel does not question Jack- 
son about his business, now or at any other time. Nor does 
he ever question her too closely. They take each other for 
granted. It is enough. Dickinson steals from the side of 
his beautiful wife, kisses her with impressive tenderness 
and says he has business across the Red River. The Red 
River ! 

A cavalcade of gay Tennessee dogs follows the dashing 
Dickinson. They make of it an interlude of frolic between 
lengthy periods of backwoods monotony. It is a long 
day's ride to the rendezvous, and when they stop for 
refreshment at taverns en route Dickinson entertains his 
admirers with specimens of his marksmanship. Four times 



he puts a bullet in a target the size of a half dollar at a 
distance of twenty-four feet. He can not miss. Along the 
road Dickinson sees an object suspended by a string tied 
to a limb of a tree. He is thirty feet from it; he reins in 
his horse, levels his pistol and fires. The string snaps. He 
laughs gayly. ''When General Jackson passes this way 
show him that/' he calls to an overseer going into the 

There is none of this hilarity in the Jackson party. The 
tall man is discussing earnestly with General Overton the 
affair at hand. They decide that Dickinson shall have 
the chance of firing first since, like all crack marksmen, he 
does not require time to take correct aim. Jackson has 
made up his mind he will be hit, but he does not want the 
effect of his bullet destroyed by having to fire too quickly. 
'T shall hit him even if he shoots me through the brain," 
the General says slowly and solemnly to Overton. 

After a day's riding both parties, who have chosen 
different routes as far as possible, come to the taverns 
where they stop for the night. Dickinson and his party 
make merry. There is much drinking and card playing, 
with Dickinson as a spectator of all this. He revels in the 
thought that it is all in his honor. The young blades are 
sure that before another day has passed they shall ac- 
company back to Nashville the conqueror of Andrew Jack- 
son. In the woods, and around the stores and public build- 
ings in Nashville and elsewhere on the Cumberland, Jack- 
son's friends, who are many, are both praying and betting 
for the General to win. They, too, think he cannot miss. 
Rachel knows nothing of all this. 

Jackson's grimness has trailed off into pleasantries. He 



eats heartily at supper and converses gayly with his 
friends. In the evening he smokes his pipe as usual, and re- 
tires early. 

It is a warm May morning. The sun has sprinkled jewels 
over the fields of Kentucky which the slaves grind into 
the yielding earth. They hear the rhythmic beat of horses' 
hoofs on the road that runs toward the river, and they un- 
bend their backs to see if this can be their master coming 
to lash them into greater effort. They see a tall man with 
a great crop of tousled hair turning gray conversing with 
another man galloping by his side. The tall man's cape 
flutters in the breeze of the May morning. The slaves bend 
to their tasks as the overseer strides among them. 

The horsemen ride a mile along the river, then turn 
sharply toward it. There is no ferryman to take them 
across. Andrew Jackson plunges his horse into the river, 
Overton following him. Dickinson and his party have 
preceded them on the ferry. It seems as if things are going 
Dickinson's way, Overton thinks. Jackson gallops on to- 
ward the appointed place and dismounts. All the courtesies 
of gentlemen on a field of honor are duly observed. This 
is no common bar-room brawl so familiar to General 
Jackson and his adversary. French duelists might learn 
some points of civility from these gentle savages of Ten- 
nessee come for a killing. 


Some one nudges Jackson and inquires how he feels 

now. ''All right," the General replies. 'T shall wing him, 

never fear." Overton wins the lot of giving the word, 

"Fire," and Dickinson's second wins the choice of posi- 



tion. The paces are measured and the duelists are placed. 
Both men are utterly collected and composed. They are hat- 
less. The wind sifts through the tall man's hair. His face 
is stern, his jaws set, but there is no pent up fury in his 
deep blue eyes. He is cautious and serene, qualities that 
have marked him and shall mark him in every great crisis. 

A long frock coat with cape attached covers his slender 
and erect figure. It is folded loosely about him, for the 
purpose of deceiving Dickinson who will aim straight at 
Jackson's heart. The moment is tense as both men face 
each other under the poplars. 

''Are you ready?" Overton's strident voice echoes 
through the forest. 

'T am ready," replies Dickinson. 

'T am ready," replies Jackson. 

The words are still warm on their lips when Overton 
shouts, 'Tire!" 

A curl of dust flies from Jackson's coat. He raises his 
left arm and clutches tightly at his breast. 

The smile of triumph flits over Dickinson's face and as 
quickly freezes as he sees Jackson, who has not wavered 
nor budged an inch, slowly raise his pistol. 

"Great God! Have I missed him!" moans Dickinson, 
astonished that the tall man does not topple. 

"Back to the mark!" shouts Overton, grasping his own 
pistol. Dickinson steps to the peg and turns his head from 
the deadly gaze of Jackson. Dickinson swoons in his soul, 
but his body is erect, firm and commanding. 

Andrew Jackson takes deliberate aim. He snaps the 
trigger. The pistol does not explode. It is at half cock. 
He pulls back the trigger and takes a second aim. Dickin- 



son topples. The blood gushes from his wounds for the 
ball has passed through his body. His seconds and friends 
carry him away. 

One of Jackson's shoes is full of blood. ''My God ! Are 
you hit?" asks Overton. "Oh, I believe he has pinked me 
a little," says Jackson. 

Dickinson's bullet had gone straight to where he sup- 
posed was Jackson's heart, but the General's loose coat had 
deceived him. The bullet broke two of Jackson's ribs and 
raked his breastbone. It was a painful, ragged wound; 
but Jackson mounts his horse and gallops off to the tavern 
where he had passed the previous night. 

His surgeon dresses his wound, and when this is done, 
Jackson sends a note to Dickinson's friends, who have ar- 
rived with the wounded man at a tavern near-by, stating 
that the surgeon attending himself will be glad to minister 
to the needs of Dickinson. Word is returned that Dickin- 
son is past the need for surgery. During the day Jackson 
dispatches a bottle of wine to Dr. Catlet for his patient. 

Dickinson bleeds to death. His last words are a curse 
that he had failed to kill Andrew Jackson. 

In Nashville the results of the duel create a profound 
sensation. Large amounts of money bet on the outcome 
change hands over the tavern bars. 

Dickinson was popular in Nashville and on the Cumber- 
land. His friends draft a memorial and take it to Mr. 
Eastin, requesting him to publish it in the "Impartial 
Review." They also prevail upon the editor to drape his 
paper in mourning by reversing the column rules for one 



issue. Jackson hears of this, as he hears of everything. He 
rises from his couch at the Hermitage, and Rachel brings 
him ink and paper. He sends a letter to the editor demand- 
ing that the names of those who subscribe to the memorial 
be published along with the eulogy. 

Eastin publishes Jackson's letter in the next issue, and 
twenty-six citizens file into his office and erase their names 
from the memorial to Dickinson. They consider it risky 
business to affront the conqueror of the crack shot of 

General Jackson will never boast of this affair. He will 
never speak of it to his friends. A section of the population 
of Tennessee believe him to be a cold-blooded murderer. 
But these are the friends of Dickinson. A larger number 
believe he was eminently justified in dispatching the man 
who talked too loosely about adultery. 


Chapter XII 

NAPOLEON'S conquests produce a profound sensa- 
tion in America, especially in the West, where 
great admiration was felt for the little Corsican. In no 
country outside of the continent of Europe were the 
people so deeply stirred as the Americans. Westerners 
believed Napoleon would conquer the world, and America 
might just as well be in at the Wake on his side. They 
envisioned him as the liberator of mankind, but particu- 
larly as the enemy of kings. These simple, rustic western 
Americans did not see that Napoleon enthroned a puppet 
king of his own choice for every monarch he toppled. In 
one month — at the latest, two — England would be hum- 
bled; and how these southwesterners despised England, 
which still regarded the young republic as an impudent, 
noisy brat in the family of nations. 

Bonaparte's influence in America is seen clearly in the 
number of persons who are adventuring in many direc- 
tions. Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson's private secretary, 
and William Clark, a young frontiersman, have explored 
the continent from the Mississippi to the Far West and 
the Pacific. Americans now have more than a shadowy 



idea of how far they may yet push the white man's 
triumph. The Lewis and Clark Expedition marks a turn- 
ing point on this continent. 

In a Httle while (1807), Robert Fulton, a Scotch- 
Irishman, will invent an odd looking boat propelled by 
steam. That year he will launch his craft, the Clermont, off 
the Battery, and it will glide serenely up the Hudson to 
Albany, one hundred an(d fifty miles, making the trip in 
thirty-two hours. People will line the water-front, many of 
them betting the trick cannot be done, and the owners of 
sail boats hoping as much. By 181 1 a steamboat will ap- 
pear on the Ohio, and in the next year steamboats will 
be making regular runs between Pittsburgh and New 
Orleans. America is getting its stride. 

There are, however, some instances where American 
adventurers are merely buccaneers and swashbucklers. 
These have imitated Napoleon's predilection for high 
romance found in the conquest of uncharted lands and 
alien peoples. They are in love with the notion of stalking 
over the earth — even American earth — rattling their 
swords and scarifying the natives. 

Aaron Burr, a colonel in the War for Independence, 
member of Congress from New York, Vice President of 
the United States in Jefferson's first term, and in 1804 
the killer of Alexander Hamilton in a duel on Weehawken 
Heights, is a comic imitation of Napoleon at his worst. 
But the West, particularly Tennessee, takes Burr seri- 
ously; and Andrew Jackon, himself an ardent Bonapartist, 
embraces the New Yorker and invites him to his hearth at 
the Hermitage. 



Jackson, while a member of Congress, had met Burr in 
Philadelphia and was impressed with the courtly and suave 
New Yorker. Also, it was Burr who championed Ten- 
nessee's fight for admission into the Union, and the Cum- 
berland would not soon forget that signal service. Burr, 
an exile from New York because of his duel with Hamil- 
ton, was the more welcome in the West, due to his having 
murdered with a pistol the founder of the Bank of the 
United States, which the West abominated. Moreover, the 
fact that Burr was a duelist and a killer lent prestige, and 
a certain social position, to the head-hunters of the West, 
among whom Jackson ranks as one of the leaders. 

In the Spring of 1805, Burr turned westward, and on 
May 29 he visited the town of Nashville, which had be- 
come one of the most prosperous of the western com- 
munities. Nashville received the great Burr with joy and 
eclat. People came from remote sections, isolated farms 
and settlements, and not a few crossed a river or two to 
pay their respects to the conqueror of Hamilton, and the 
friend of Tennessee. 

A great dinner is arranged for the noted visitor at the 
best tavern. Nothing is wanting in pomp and ceremony. 
General Jackson mounts his finest horse and gallops from 
the Hermitage to Nashville to attend and pay honor to 
Colonel Burr who, after the festivities, is the General's 
guest for five days. At this meeting Jackson learns virtu- 
ally nothing of Burr's plans or his purpose in the West. 

On June 3, Burr departs. He is keeping a diary for 



the amusement of his beautiful daughter, Theodosia, who 
would really like to be a princess some day. Theodosia is 
by no means alone among American women in that wish. 
In his diary, Burr writes that General Jackson has pro- 
vided him with a boat, and he is about to navigate down 
the Cumberland River on which "we expect to find our 
boat, with which we intend to make a rapid voyage down 
the Mississippi to Natchez and Orleans." On the Ohio 
River, Burr meets General James Wilkinson, of the 
United States Army, who is on his way to St. Louis. 
Wilkinson supplies Burr with an elegant barge, sails, 
colors, ten oars, a sergeant and ''ten able, faithful hands." 

It appears that Burr had made a deliberate detour that 
he might visit Nashville, renew his acquaintance with 
Jackson and see the lay of the land in Tennessee and along 
the upper Mississippi for his project. General Wilkinson 
had risen from a Kentucky storekeeper to the army. He 
was already suspected of having received bribes of gold 
from the Spanish government of Florida. On August 6, 
1805, Burr returned to Nashville and was again a guest 
at the Hermitage. The Colonel, again writing to Theo- 
dosia, expresses his admiration of General Jackson, whom 
he describes as ''now a planter, a man of intelligence, and 
one of those prompt, frank, ardent souls whom I love to 
meet." He tells Theodosia he is having a new map of the 
United States sent to her so that she might trace his 
route through the wilderness. 

The threat of war with Spain is in the air, especially 
in the West. For twenty years there has existed ill-feeling 
between the West and the Spanish governors over the 
question of the right of the states to free access to the 



Mississippi River. Jackson is in favor of war with Spain 
to settle this question once and for all. President Jeffer- 
son is trying to stave off the conflict through diplomacy 
and at the same time pacify the West. This subject, it 
may be supposed, was uppermost in the conversations 
between Jackson and Burr. Finally, Colonel Burr quit 
the Hermitage and returned to the East. Meanwhile, 
General Jackson was being harassed by the Dickinson 
episode, and fortunately Burr did not appear upon the 
scene to complicate matters until after the fatal duel. 


It is September, 1806. For three months the General 
has been closely confined to his house, waiting for his 
wound to heal. There are many times during this con- 
valescence when he and Rachel speak openly of their wisli 
that they might be permitted to pass the rest of their days 
in peace and quiet. But the words are no sooner spoken 
by Jackson than he thinks of the Spaniards, of their im- 
pudence and insolence toward the western states during 
all these years, and he becomes restive, eager for war that 
he might help to drive them from the American con- 
tinent. He will, but not yet. Not under the gentle Jefferson. 

Burr has arrived. He brings with him his lovely daugh- 
ter and leaves her on Blennerhassett Island. He never ex- 
pects to return to the East again. If his plans mature, an 
empire! Emperor Aaron! Princess Theodosia! Perhaps 
the fond father would rather gratify his daughter's wish 
to be a real Princess than that he should become an Em- 
peror. Perhaps it is she who drives him into this shadowy 



- ^A -». «. ~ »- «. -^ *.-•,« -•.«. -».«. .«.•. ,«.^ -».•. ,».«, -»,«, _».« -•».•.-•.«. -»,« >«.«.«.« -».• -«.« ,».« -»,•, 

General Jackson loses no time in informing his closest 
friends, who, with him, constitute the leading citizens of 
Nashville, that Colonel Burr is back in town and at the 
Hermitage. The important gentlemen trot over to pay 
their respects, but there is something cool in their greet- 
ing. Reports have reached the Cumberland that Colonel 
Burr's designs are not in the interest of the United States. 
In the East he is openly suspected of plotting a conspiracy 
to conquer Mexico from Spain, seize the southwestern 
territories of the United States and establish an empire, a 
la Napoleon. 

The East, unfriendly to Burr, believes most of these re- 
ports, but the West takes them with many reservations. 
Jackson has heard the rumors, and, to prove that he dis- 
believes them, the General arranges a great ball in the 
Colonel's honor. When all is ready and the guests are as- 
sembled, many of them standing rigidly against the wall, 
like mechanical dummies pasted onto the paper, the Colo- 
nel and the General enter by a door at the end of the great 
hall, and they bow most graciously to the right and to the 
left as they parade the length of the room, arm in arm. 
Jackson is in the resplendent uniform of a Major Gen- 
eral, while Burr is attired in black silk and white lace 
ruffles. None could believe that evil motives lurked in the 
folds of that gorgeous lace, in the pockets of that 
wondrous silk suit, or in the head of this cultured man. 
For the first time in its history, Nashville, indeed the 
whole state of Tennessee, really looked upon themselves 
as being civilized. Did not the presence of Burr attest as 

The success of the famous ball serves to humble all 



who are skeptical. People who had suspected him are ut- 
terly ashamed. They whisper their apologies to each other. 

Burr departs and a month passes. November comes. 
Early in the month, Jackson, still interested in the store 
at Clover Bottom, but not active in its management, re- 
ceives an order from Burr for five large boats, such as are 
used for descending the western rivers, and a quantity 
of supplies. Three thousand five hundred dollars in Ken- 
tucky bank notes accompany the order. The firm sets about 
to fill the contract, and a friend of Jackson's, Patten 
Anderson, is busy raising a company of men to go with 
Burr down the river. Anderson enlists seventy-five men. 
Anderson's expenses are paid out of the sum that Burr 
has sent to Jackson. Does General Jackson suspect any- 
thing? Not a thing. He thinks Burr is merely trying to as- 
semble boats and supplies to found a colony somewhere 
along the Mississippi, and be on hand should a war come 
with Spain. 

Jackson is ignorant of the fact that Burr has been com- 
municating with General Wilkinson in cipher. Jackson 
does not know that Burr has been sending his special 
emissary, Samuel Swartwout, to Wilkinson's head- 
quarters. On November lo, Jackson receives a visit from a 
friend. What he learns from this man thoroughly arouses 

Burr means to divide the Union. He will seize New 
Orleans and the bank. Then he will close the port. He will 
conquer Mexico and unite the western part of the Union 
to the conquered country. He will do this with the aid of 
United States troops, headed by General Wilkinson, his 
willing dupe. New Orleans shall be the capital of this em- 



pire and Aaron Burr its Emperor. Theodosia becomes a 
Princess (in the dream) and her boy a Duke. It is lovely. 

General Jackson loses not a minute in warning all and 
sundry of what he has heard. If Burr is actually a traitor, 
Jackson has aided and abetted his crime ; he has furnished 
him with boats and supplies, and taken Burr's money in 
payment for these trappings, and sent Anderson with 
seventy-five men — all Cumberland boys — on the expedi- 

General Andrew Jackson, walking delegate for the 
Declaration of Independence, is himself skating on the thin 
ice of treason — if Burr is a traitor. Off goes Jackson's let- 
ter to his friend, Governor Claiborne, of the Orleans Ter- 
ritory, warning him against Burr, and advising him to put 
his town in a state of defence. ''Keep a watchful eye upon 
Wilkinson," writes Jackson. ''I fear there is 'something 
rotten in the state of Denmark.' " 


Almost at the same time Jackson, eager to clear him- 
self of any connection with Burr's project, writes to 
President Jefferson offering the services of his division 
of the state militia "in the event of insult or aggression 
made on our government and country from any quarter." 
Actually, Jackson does not yet know what Burr is up 
to, nor does anyone else know. Burr himself probably 
could not say. 

On December 14, Burr, having been arrested and 
acquitted in Kentucky on suspicion of conspiring against 
the United States, returns to Nashville and the Her- 
mitage, but Rachel Jackson, in the absence of the Gen- 



eral, receives him coldly. Rachel is a thorough-going 
patriot. The Colonel proceeds to Clover Bottom, stays at 
a tavern, and there General Jackson confronts Burr 
frankly v^^ith v^hat he has heard and demands the truth 
from Burr. The New Yorker denies any unfriendly in- 
tentions toward the government. Jackson is more in- 
clined to believe Burr than to view him as a traitor. 
Moreover, he refuses to condemn any man on rumor. He 
demands proof. But he is also cautious, and he instructs 
his partners to accept no more orders from Burr, but to 
fulfill the contract already agreed upon. 

On December 22, Burr and his followers depart from 
Clover Bottom in two unarmed boats, built by the Jack- 
son firm. Three more are specified in the contract, but 
these are never called for. The party is bound, it seems, 
for Blennerhassett Island where they will meet Burr's 
flotilla. Then down the Mississippi to Natchez, where 
General Wilkinson, of the United States Army, is sup- 
posed to be waiting the arrival of the Emperor-to-be; 
thence on to Texas, and the establishment of the throne. 

Colonel Burr has scarcely climbed into his boats at 
Clover Bottom and pushed down the river when a proc- 
lamation from President Jefferson reaches Nashville, and 
throws that region into a delirium of excitement. The 
gracious Colonel is burnt in effigy in the public square. 

On January i, 1807, General Jackson receives word 
from the President and the Secretary of War, General 
Henry Dearborn — a Revolutionary patriot — ordering him 
to hold his command in readiness to march in pursuit of 
the traitors. General Jackson is prompt to obey this com- 
mand. In all directions his orders fly to his subordinate 



officers. The Revolutionary Veterans of Tennessee, all 
over fifty years of age, tender their services to Jackson, 
and in a perfervid patriotic outburst he accepts their 

Privately, however, Jackson still does not suspect Burr 
of treason. The wish that Burr is innocent may be father 
to Jackson's thought, for has not Jackson provided the ad- 
venturer with boats and supplies ? Jackson suspects that 
Burr is merely a victim of persecution because of his 
killing of Hamilton. The western General has small use for 
the effete East, anyway, and less use now for Jefferson's 
Administration because it has refused to declare war 
against Spain. 

To his friend, Patten Anderson, Jackson writes that he 
has received a letter from Secretary of War Dearborn. 
'Tt is the merest old-woman letter from the Secretary 
that you ever saw. . . . Wilkinson has denounced Burr 
as a treator after he found that he was implicated. I have 
it from the President that all volunteers will be grate- 
fully accepted. . . . The Secretary of War is not fit for 
a granny." 

But at Washington, Jackson is suspected as a confeder- 
ate of Burr, who, while in the East, dropped a word here 
and there that he had the support of Tennessee and Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson. In a long letter to his friend, George 
W. Campbell, Congressman from Tennessee, Jackson ex- 
plains fully his relations with Burr, and concludes by say- 
ing that he will ''pay his respects" to the Secretary of 
War. He also writes again to Anderson, declaring that "by 
the next mail I will instruct him (the Secretary of War) 
in his duty and convince him that I know mine." 



And Jackson loses no time in doing this, for, on January 
8, the Major General of Militia delivers himself of this 
broadside to the Secretary of War, a letter not calculated 
to elevate Jackson in a military way, which he so much de- 
sires at this time. An extract from his letter : 

*'Col. B. received, sir, all that hospitality that a ban- 
ished patriot from his home was entitled to. I then 
thought him a patriot in exile for a cause that every man 
of honor must regret, the violence with which he was 
pursued, all his language to me covered with a love of 
country, and obedience to the laws and your orders. Under 
these declarations and after his acquittal by a respectable 
grand jury of Kentucky, my suspicions of him vanished, 
and I did furnish him with two boats, and had he wanted 
two more on the same terms and under the same impres- 
sions I then had he should have had them. But sir, when 
prooff shews him to be a treator, I would cut his throat 
with as much pleasure as I would cut yours on equal testi- 


Jackson's hatred was for General Wilkinson, not for 
Burr. He despised Wilkinson for his duplicity with Burr, 
and was angered with President Jefferson for not pursu- 
ing Wilkinson with the same energy that he tracked 
Colonel Burr. It is also likely that Jackson covets Wilkin- 
son's rank in the army. He would stop at little to undo 

But Burr finally surrenders and is taken to Richmond 
for trial on the charge of treason. John Marshall, ele- 



vated to the Supreme Court of the United States by 
President Adams as one of the last tributes Adams could 
pay to the Federalist Party, is the presiding justice, while 
the astute Henry Clay, of Kentucky, is counsel for Burr. 
Wilkinson is state's witness against Burr. General Jack- 
son is summoned to appear at Richmond as a witness, and 
he mounts his steed and gallops eastward. It will take him 
nearly two weeks to get there. Richmond stares at him. 

Jackson is talking so loudly in defense of Burr that it 
is decided not to put him on the witness stand. Nothing 
daunted. General Jackson mounts the courthouse steps and 
harangues a crowd for more than an hour. His discourse 
is divided between a defense of Burr and a denunciation 
of President Jefferson and his Cabinet, particularly the 
Secretary of War. Jackson's conduct at Richmond angers 
James Madison, Secretary of State, who is striving to keep 
the country at peace. 

It is not likely Jackson knew that his friend. Colonel 
Burr, had asked the British Minister, Anthony Merry, for 
the loan of half a million dollars, and a supporting squad- 
ron of British ships at the mouth of the Mississippi. How- 
ever, being unable to prove the *'overt act," the charge of 
treason against Burr is finally reduced to a misdemeanor, 
and he is acquitted. The whole affair has been made the 
football of politics, but it will at least furnish the Rev. 
Dr. Edward Everett Hale with a theme for his fiction, 
'The Man Without a Country," many years later. 

One incident immensely pleases Jackson, who now real- 
izes he has been imposed upon. Certain streets of Rich- 



mond are very narrow, and two fat men walking in 
opposite directions would have difficulty in passing each 
other. Samuel Swartwout, aide-de-camp and general 
factotum to Colonel Burr, sights the portly General Wil- 
kinson waddling down the street toward him. They collide, 
and Swartwout gives the General a vigorous push with his 
shoulder, sending the star witness against Burr sprawling 
into the gutter. Jackson hears of this and doubles with 

Twenty years later this same Swartwout, who wormed 
his way into Jackson's esteem by pushing Wilkinson into 
the street, will be rewarded by President Jackson with the 
place of Collector of Customs at the port of New York; 
and Swartwout will evince his appreciation by looting the 
government's coffers of a million and a quarter, which 
he will spend at his leisure in Europe. The thievery will 
produce a first class scandal and give the Jackson regime 
a black eye, but it will be only a rehearsal of Tammany's 
talents in that direction. 

The clouds are gathering for a war with England. 
Jefferson is determined to stave off the conflict during his 
rule. Madison, slated to be the next President, will inherit 
this tremendous burden. But in 1808, General Jackson will 
throw his support to James Monroe. 

Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson is home again, listening to 
Rachel reading her Bible, and at the same time hoping 
that a war with England will not be long deferred. 'T must 
tell you," he writes to a friend at this time, "that Bona- 
parte has destroyed the Prussian army. We ought to have 
a little of the emperor's energy." 


Chapter XIII 

FOR three years prior to 181 2 the country felt that a 
second war with England was inevitable. Dating 
from the Jay Treaty, affairs between the United States 
and Great Britain had been drifting^ toward a collision 
which the militant repubhcans of the South and West 
declared openly could be settled only upon the battlefield. 
President Jefferson had been able to maintain a policy 
of neutrality in the affairs of war-torn Europe, but al- 
most at the expense of wrecking his own Administration. 
James Madison, Jefferson's Secretary of State, a man of 
culture and disposed to embrace much of the Jeffersonian 
political idealism and philosophic humanism, had fought 
bravely to maintain America's integrity through diplo- 
macy the while Napoleon flew across Europe like a bloody 
meteor, erasing ancient boundaries, crushing the thrones 
of impotent kingdoms and setting up vassal dynasties 
obedient to his whims. 

But the task harassed both Jefferson and Madison, 
and in 1809 the sage of Monticello was happy to pass the 
burden on to Madison, also a Virginian, and thus per- 
petuate for a time the Virginia dynasty in American poli- 



tics. Madison, however, was not a commanding figure 
and the drift toward war became steadily apparent as the 
months of his Administration passed. A long train of 
abuses by England — ever impudent and insolent toward 
the young republic in those early years — had all but 
caused the country to become bankrupt by 18 12. 

In Jefferson's Administration Congress had passed an 
Embargo Act, forbidding American vessels to leave these 
ports with goods for European shores. This was an at- 
tempt to protect American merchantmen from seizures, 
and American seamen from impressment by British naval 
commanders. It was nearly a disastrous policy, for Amer- 
ican products rotted in warehouses and on the docks; 
merchants were driven into bankruptcy ; everywhere there 
was unemployment; prices doubled and tripled; farmers 
and planters of the South and the West had no market for 
their cotton, rice, tobacco, corn and pork. To obey the 
law was to face starvation ; to violate it by attempting to 
smuggle goods into Spanish Florida and Canada, thence 
to Europe, was to run the risk of encountering United 
States agents. The law pleased none. 

In the Summer of 1807, the American frigate, Chesa- 
peake, was fired upon by the British warship. Leopard, 
and three American seamen were killed and eighteen were 
wounded. The Chesapeake had refused to surrender sailors 
who the British claimed were deserters from King 
George's navy. British and French ships patrolled the 
American coast within the three mile limit, and the ships 
of each nation harassed and searched American merchant- 
men at will, the English commanders frequently seizing 
both vessels and cargo. In 181 1 it was admitted in the 



House of Commons that i,6oo American seamen had 
been dragged from our ships and impressed into the 
service of Great Britain. 

In the Spring of 1811, a British frigate stopped an 
American ship near New York harbor and took from on 
board an apprentice serving master of the brig. This man, 
John Diggio, was a native of Maine. The incident created 
deep resentment in the country, particularly in the South 
and West, where it was known that the several Indian 
nations, notably the Creeks, were being stirred up against 
the United States by British agents, and likewise Spanish 
ones. Since Spain was an ally of Great Britain against 
Napoleon, Spanish provinces in America because hotbeds 
of intrigue against the United States. This was the con- 
dition that the West and South had to face. 

The expansionist movement, which began in the Jeffer- 
son Administration with the purchase of Louisiana from 
Napoleon, had created the fever for still more territory 
as the population increased and its needs for land and 
materials grew. The Indians stood in the way of this. The 
Spanish provinces were in the way. England was in the 
way, for England desired that the United States should 
confine themselves East of the Mississippi. The West 
looked upon England as the chief foe. 

All along the frontier, pioneers were prepared for the 
onward march into the West. Their cry was for land, for 
the settlement of the continent by white men East of the 
Mississippi, from its mouth to the gulf. The Indians 



might remain in restricted reservations if they behaved 
themselves ; if not, they were to be shunted further v^est- 
ward into uncharted lands. The Indians heard this cry 
and understood its meaning. They turned to Great Britain 
for help — and received it. 

There v^ere many leaders in the country who believed 
that if a war with England should come it would be just 
as well for the United States to annex Canada. Henry 
Clay, of Kentucky, was one of these. *Ts it nothing for 
us to extinguish the torch that lights up savage warfare?" 
he asked. *Ts it nothing to acquire the entire fur trade 
connected with that country and to destroy the temptation 
and opportunity of violating your revenue and other 

Several years before 181 2, the great Tecumseh, and 
his brother, the Prophet, both aided by the British, set 
about to unite all the Indian tribes of the northwest and 
the southwest into one great confederacy for a war 
against the United States. In 181 1, Tecumseh appeared 
at a council of the Creek Indian nation, in the old town of 
Tuckaubatchee, on the upper Tallapoosa, in Alabama, 
and made an effective plea for a union of all the Red 
men against the extension of the white settlements. The 
eloquence of this remarkable chief fired the heart of the 
young braves of the Creek nation, and they were resolved 
from that moment to resist the advance of the white man. 
But the Creek war was not to begin just yet. 

In the northwest, — Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky — 
there v/as much alarm felt among the whites because of 
the Indian depredations. The Reds were becoming bolder. 



General William Henry Harrison, territorial governor of 
Indiana, moved suddenly against the tribes and dealt them 
a severe blow at the battle of Tippecanoe. 

General Jackson was watching these events. In No- 
vember, 1811, seven months before the United States de- 
clared war against England, Jackson wrote to General 
Harrison offering to assist him in putting down the 
Indians. In fact, Jackson had already issued orders to his 
men to be prepared to march northward if Harrison's men 
were endangered. Militia commanders of western states 
in those days were obliged to rely upon their own judg- 
ment. Washington was a long, long trail from the fron- 
tier. Before orders could reach the West from the East, 
whole towns might be decimated. General Andrew Jack- 
son never waited for orders from his superiors telling 
him when to act. He moved when he pleased, and acted 
in accordance with the situation of that particular mo- 
ment. He ignored all orders, official or otherwise, that 
did not synchronize with what he thought should be done. 
That quality was both his strength and his weakness. 

Said Jackson to Harrison : "Should the aid of part of 
my Division be necessary to enable you to revenge the 
blood of our brave heroes who fell by the deceitful hands 
of those unrelenting barbarians, I will with pleasure march 
five hundred or one thousand brave Tennesseeans. The 
blood of our murdered heroes must be revenged that 
Banditti ought to be swept from the face of the earth. I 
do hope that Government will see that it is necessary to 
act efficiently, and that this Hostile band, which must be 
excited to war by the secrete agents of Great Britain 
must be destroyed/' 



The War of 181 2 has commonly been regarded by many 
historians as a ''traders war." It appears to have been 
desired much more by the agrarian expansionists than by 
the eastern merchants and ship owners, who were most di- 
rectly hit by the incessant encroachments upon and viola- 
tions of American property rights. The War Party hoped 
not only to rid the South and the West of the Indian bar- 
riers against the advance of the agrarian frontier, but to 
gather in the rich fur trade enjoyed by the British, and 
the fertile farm lands of Canada. It was an ambitious 
program, and it quite overwhelmed President Madison. 

These were the conditions rapidly developing in the 
country in the few years prior to the second war with 
England. Andrew Jackson, home at the Hermitage, near 
Nashville, is following each event as it unfolds. His pas- 
sionate interest in the affairs of the day is extraor- 
dinary for one whose only official position is that of 
Major General of the western division of the State Mili- 
tia. What is Jackson angling for? Legislative and judicial 
honors have been his, and he has turned his back upon 
them. Does he, can he, expect a higher office at the hands 
of the people? If so, what? If he has political ambitions 
he has not confided them to a single soul. The Presidency 
is as far from Jackson's mind as anything possibly could 
be, and yet he is in his early forties — the time of life 
when a man has call to give eye to the future. But Jack- 
son seems not to make any plans for the future. It is a 
matter of come day, go day with him. He is a military man 
on the frontier of the white man's civilization. Home with 



Rachel tonight, maybe entertaining a guest or two at 
the Hermitage; in the thicket tomorrow contesting the 
strength of the white man over the Red. Now at the race 
track, or the cock-pit — arguing, betting, cheering ; now at 
the auction block buying human flesh and blood to work 
his plantations, or else demanding his own price for his 
excess slaves. 

As the clouds gather for the next war. General Jack- 
son is living the quiet life of a southern planter, highly 
respected in the community, loved by those who know him 
best, feared by numbers of men who have felt the blast 
of his violent oaths, or have seen the fury in his blazing 
eyes that burn like balls of fire in a tiger's head. But 
General Jackson is never quite as angry as he appears to 
be. Not once has he ever permitted his temper to carry 
him beyond ''reason." If General Jackson says, ''By the 
eternal Almighty God, I will burn him alive," he means 
to do exactly that, and sets in motion the machinery to 
accomplish the deed. 

If General Jackson writes a man a stinging rebuke and 
concludes with a challenge to a duel, then he has fur- 
bished his pistols in advance and awaits only the arrange- 
ments for the combat. He is not a bluffer, though he is 
something of a bully — a bully who is not a coward. 

General Jackson is in close, intimate touch with nearly 
all public men aligned in the political faith to which he 
adheres, and many others besides. His opinions are sought 
on diverse public questions, especially by Tennessee's rep- 
resentatives in Congress, for they know that Jackson is 
the spirit incarnate of the frontier; they know that what 
he says is in the interest of the people without regard 

1 66 


to their social position, or their property, great or small ; 
Jackson is a man of the people, and the people know it. 
His letters fly in all directions to public men — from the 
President down to the humblest Indian agent. He is no 
respecter of what is called high place, neither does he 
look upon those in lowly positions as mean. In a very 
real sense Andrew Jackson is a passionate lover of liberty, 
both personal and national; he regards all rights as sub- 
ordinate to the rights of man. To express this love and 
to attain these rights for himself and for others he not 
infrequently tramples upon both. Does not all history point 
to the Temple of Liberty as the citadel of the tyrant? 

Freedom ! Rights ! Man ! These are but fragile stems 
of some remote truth whose meaning is as vague as the 
purpose of the bloody battles fought in its name. Jack- 
son's character thus far bears many of the hall-marks 
of a dictator whose sharp thrusts are blunted by the as- 
cendant democracy of which he wills to be a spokesman. 
There is confusion. The warp of personal will ever en- 
tangled with the woof of the impersonal ideal. The Rights 
of Man ! 


Although the Hermitage is frequently the gathering 
place of Mrs. Jackson's numerous nieces, nephews, sisters 
and brothers, and the friends of each of these, she feels 
something is lacking. It is not want of love, for her tall 
man adores her. There is dignity, stateliness in their 
mutual love and respect, one for the other. Both are fond 
of children, but their marriage has been childless. Did 
the great fever, that accompanied the smallpox, and which 



for a time unbalanced Jackson's mind in his boyhood 
following his harrowing experiences in the War for In- 
dependence, render him sterile? If so, might that not ac- 
count for his irascibility, his almost constant self-torture 
in brooding over real and imaginary wrongs? On the 
other hand, what of Rachel's previous marriage, likewise 
childless? The answers to these questions might explain 
much, but they are answe.rless. 

Twins are born to one of Mrs. Jackson's brothers, 
Savern Donelson. The mother of them is not a healthy 
woman, and Rachel, partly to relieve her sister, but more 
to satisfy her own longing and to provide a son and heir 
for General Jackson, takes one of the infants when it is 
but a few days old, home to the Hermitage. The Gen- 
eral is pleased beyond measure. He gives the child his 
name, Andrew Jackson, junior, adopts him, raises him 
as his son, and will leave him his estate when he dies. 

In a few years, still another nephew of Mrs. Jack- 
son will be named Andrew Jackson Donelson, and this 
boy, too, the General will fondle on his lap in the eve- 
nings by the open fire, or sitting out of doors on the 
porch while he and Rachel both smoke their long reed 
stem pipes. As the two boys grow and become mischie- 
vous, it is a common sight to see General Jackson sitting 
in a great arm chair, one little Andrew wedged on each 
side of him, the tall man's arms trying to pinion them so 
they might not smack the newspaper from his hands and 
laugh uproariously when they succeed in making him 
scramble across the floor to rescue it. 

Visitors at the Hermitage are astonished when they 



see the uncommon patience of General Jackson in his 
home. They have heard of him as a fire-cater, a man- 
killer, one used to uttering great oaths, one who will not 
tolerate another to cross him in anything — yet here he 
is at home, never so much as cross with the children, his 
wife or the servants. He not only endures any amount of 
mischief from these boys, but he is downcast when they 
seem dispirited. Frequently he conducts important mili- 
tary conferences or political pow-wows in the parlor of 
the Hermitage while a little Andy sits upon each knee, 
raised high off the floor, and playfully fighting each 
other until the General spreads his legs far apart to 
produce an armistice and end the racket. 

People go away from the Hermitage and weigh the 
dreadful tales they have heard about this turbulent man. 
What they have seen and what they have heard do not 
tally. But those outside the home circle on a certain 
Tennessee plantation called the Hermitage know what 
they are talking about. 

Many of them were standing in the public square in 
Nashville near the courthouse, where the slayer of one of 
General Jackson's friends was being tried for murder, and 
saw him, after he had testified to the good character of 
the victim, mount the courthouse steps to denounce the 
jury, in advance of the verdict, if the killer should be 

''Oh pshaw," someone in the crowd interjects contemp- 
tuously. Jackson stops his speech instantly. 

"Who dares to say 'pshaw' at me?" he roars. There is 
silence. He glares over the crowd, trying to seek out the 



offender. "By all that's eternal, I'll knock the head off 
any man who dares say 'pshaw' at me." He continues 
to harangue the crowd. 


The year is 1811. Everywhere there is a feeling of im- 
pending war. General Jackson, one year in advance of 
the actual declaration of war by Congress, is busily send- 
ing out orders to his commanders to be prepared to march 
at a moment's notice. One might suppose that this is 
Jackson's personal war, so energetic is he to get it started. 
The General is one of the leaders of the War Party — the 
south and western agrarians — and they will have the final 

His dispute at this time with Silas Dinsmore, agent 
to the Choctaw Indians, serves to bridge the tedium be- 
tween peace and war. Dinsmore is a United States officer 
and represents in the Indian country the power and au- 
thority of the United States. It is the duty of Indian agents 
to protect the Indians from the encroachments of white 
settlers, and the settlers from unwelcome visits of Indian 
offenders. The good will or ill temper of the tribes toward 
the United States may often depend upon the attitude 
of the federal Indian agent toward them. He is, in sum, 
the arbitrator on the scene between the white man and 
the Red. 

To the other duties of Indian agents has been added 
that of preventing Negro fugitives from taking refuge in 
Indian settlements. Slave owners have complained bitterly 
of this to the federal government, and Dinsmore is one 
of the first to act toward the prevention of this practice. 



He erects a sign in front of the agency buildings, over 
which floats the American flag, notifying travelers that 
he will arrest and detain every Negro found traveling in 
the Choctaw country whose master has not a passport, 
and also evidence of property in the Negro. Certain slave 
owners are beginning to protest to the Secretary of War, 
William Eustis, that Dinsmore is too zealous, and is 
causing great inconvenience in the Nashville district. Dins- 
more points to the fact that the legislature of the Missis- 
sippi Territory has approved the law of Congress under 
which he has acted, requiring that all persons going 
through the Indian country should be provided with a 

While Dinsmore and the Secretary of War are waging 
a paper dispute on the subject (the government being 
anxious to uphold the law and at the same time not an- 
noy the slave owners by its enforcement). General Jack- 
son appears on the scene at Natchez with a drove of 
slaves, whom he had sent to the lower country for sale. 

He is thoroughly incensed over the passport require- 
ment and is determined to make an issue of the matter. 
As he approaches the Choctaw agency house, Jackson 
arms two of his Negroes with rifles, and himself dis- 
mounts, pistols in hand, in front of Dinsmore's cabin. 
He decides to settle the question in a practical way. The 
agent is not present and Jackson is aggrieved. He sends 
his Negroes down to the edge of a creek to partake of 
their breakfast, while he waits at the agency house for 
the return of Dinsmore. Finally, he can wait no longer, 
so he corrals his Negroes, two of whom are still armed, 
and leaves a message for the federal agent that he, General 



Andrew Jackson, has been there, would have been pleased 
to meet Mr. Dinsmore, but could not wait, and was pro- 
ceeding to Nashville with his Negroes and without a 
passport. Let Mr. Dinsmore make the most of it. 

In Nashville, Jackson tells several friends that he was 
ready to burn the agency house with the agent in it had he 
been held up for the lack of a passport. "My pistols are 
my passports," he declares angrily. Not satisfied to let 
the matter rest here, Jackson takes notice that Dinsmore 
has detained a woman slave owner traveling through his 
bailiwick with a train of ten Negroes. Not only this, Dins- 
more places a notice in the newspaper that he has done 
so, and will continue so to do in upholding the laws of 
the United States government. Jackson now goes to work 
in earnest to try to effect the removal of Dinsmore, who 
is merely doing his duty, if rather zealously. Off goes 
Jackson's passionate outburst to George W. Campbell, 
Tennessee's representative in Congress : 

'The want of a passport! And my God, is it come to 
this? Are we freemen, or are we slaves? For what are 
we involved in a war with Great Britain? Is it not for 
support of our rights as an independent people, and a 
nation, secured to us by nature's God, as well as solemn 
treaties, and the law of nations? And can the Secretary 
of War, for one moment, retain the idea that we will 
permit this petty tyrant to sport with our rights, secured 
by treaty, and which by the law of nature we do possess, 
and sport with our feelings by publishing his lawless tyr- 




anny exercised over a helpless and unprotected female? 
If he does, he thinks too meanly of our patriotism and 

The lawlessness in this instance, of course, rests with 
Jackson; and the Secretary of War and President Madi- 
son, both of whom have heard of the rumpus between the 
General and the Indian agent, know who is in error. But 
Jackson is not to be put off. He makes it a ''point of 
honor" to pursue every man with whom he has a griev- 
ance until "satisfaction" is rendered. The Administration 
cannot afford to affront the turbulent General in Tennes- 
see. The government is about to have a war on its hands, 
and the General's support will be needed badly. It is 
easier to lop the political head off the zealous Dinsmore, 
who has been too ardent in upholding the laws of the 
United States and annoying General Jackson. 

Two years later Dinsmore is dismissed from office on 
the flimsy pretext that his expense account was too large 
and that he was absent from his agency upon a certain 
occasion when he was urgently needed. Dinsmore dis- 
appears and is reduced to poverty in a region where for- 
merly he held regal sway. Eight years later, Dinsmore 
will meet Jackson again, and will try to effect a recon- 
ciliation, but the General will merely glare at him and 
pass on. 

It is the year 1812. Congress is enacting legislation de- 
signed to put the country on a war footing. President 
Madison is in favor of these measures which he hopes to 



employ merely as a threat to England. He still hopes 
for peace, but the "War Hawks" — Henry Clay, John C. 
Calhoun, and a host of other southerners and westerners, 
— Andrew Jackson — are driving the President and the 
country into 'war. 

It is June, and Congress declares war against Great 
Britain. Andrew Jackson's chance has arrived, but he 
does not yet know it. Still, he does remember the vengeful 
deeds of Tarleton and his Dragoons in the Waxhaws 
during the War for Independence. 



Chapter XIV 

/ILTHOUGH war was declared on June 12, 1812, 
^/^ Tennessee did not hear of it until ten days later, 
and on the 25th, General Jackson, through Governor 
Blount, offered his services to President Madison and 
those of twenty-five hundred men in his command. The 
offer was promptly accepted. Few nations have launched 
upon a war with a great power less prepared than was the 
United States in 181 2. Its standing army consisted of 
about seven thousand men; Congress had provided that 
this force was to be augmented by volunteer enlistments 
and appeal to the state militias. The American navy con- 
sisted of a dozen fighting ships, while England possessed 
nearly a thousand. Had it not been necessary for Great 
Britain to concentrate her major attention upon Napoleon, 
with whom she was then at war, the story of 181 2 might 
have been vastly different. 

War with the United States might well have been 
viewed as a nuisance in England, even as the conflict was 
so considered in Washington and New England. The 
latter was decidedly hostile to the war, and in Massachu- 
setts, Rhode Island and Connecticut the sentiment against 



it was so strong that those states refused to send their 
quotas of soldiers to the front. Daniel Webster led a 
strong anti-war contingent which skated mighty close to 
the brink of sedition, and in 1 814 he threw his eloquence 
against the Conscription Bill in Congress, priding him- 
self ever afterward that the measure was defeated. In 
1 81 4, a convention, representing five New England states, 
was held at Hartford and expressed its opposition to the 
war. Also in 18 14, the government's war loan was a fail- 
ure, the bonds of that issue being sold at twenty per 
cent discount. The financiers who did support the loan 
demanded as the price of their aid, that the war should 
end. In all of this the Madison Administration was well 
nigh at the end of its wits. Madison could never keep up 
with the war. 

In the West, however, the war fever ran high. The 
conquest of Canada was to be the first objective. At the 
outbreak of hostilities England had about five thousand 
regulars in Canada, and early in July General William 
Hull, who had fought in the Revolution, crossed from De- 
troit into Canada with two thousand men. In a few weeks 
he retreated and surrendered. Michigan Territory passed 
into the hands of the British. However, while General 
Hull was surrendering at Detroit, the American frigate 
Constitution was capturing off the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
the British frigate Guerriere after two hours of fierce 
fighting. This marked the first time that a British frigate 
had ever been humiliated at sea. The incident heartened 
the War Party, which had been sorely depressed by the 
defeat in Canada. 

Fears were entertained that, with the release of the 



British forces in Canada, England would next attack the 
gulf ports, particularly New Orleans, where General 
James Wilkinson, of Burr fame, was still in command. 
Consequently the government dispatched a request to 
Tennessee to send fifteen hundred troops to reinforce 
Wilkinson at New Orleans. 

On November 14, General Jackson, in a rhetorical 
flourish of ardent patriotism, written by his young aide- 
de-camp, Colonel Thomas H. Benton, summoned his 
troops to the colors to "secure the rights and liberties of 
a great and rising young republic." December 10 was 
the day set for the troops to rendezvous at Nashville and 
prepare to embark down the Mississippi. The soldiers were 
expected to furnish their own arms, ammunition, camp 
equipment and blankets, ''for which a compensation may 
confidently be expected to be made by government, to 
be allowed and settled for in the usual mode and at the 
usual rates." ''Dark blue or brown uniforms," said the 
General, had been prescribed for service, "of home-spun 
or not, at the election of the wearer." On parade they 
might wear white pantaloons and vests. Apparently pic- 
tures of Bonaparte had already reached Tennessee and 
provided an inspiration for uniforms. 

Two thousand boys, youths and men present themselves 
to General Jackson on the appointed day. The alacrity 
with which Cumberland's manhood responds to the call 
to arms pleases the General. The day is bitter cold, and 
there may be many nights of out-door sleeping before 
the company is ready to march. Major William B. Lewis, 



quarter-master and the husband of one of Mrs. Jackson's 
nieces, has ordered a thousand cords of wood for camp- 
fires at night. Major Lewis is a careful, thoughtful, and 
exceptionally brilliant man. He will go a long way with 
General Jackson in the years ahead, and will be one of the 
main props of Jackson's eight years in the Presidency. 

Every stick of wood is burnt on the first freezing night. 
General Jackson and Major Lewis do not sleep. They 
pass among the troops in the fire-light, seeing that all are 
comfortable and that no sentinels are dozing. In the 
morning. General Jackson repairs to a tavern for a few 
winks. A soldier approaches him and complains that it 
is a shame the soldiers were made to sleep on the freezing 
ground while the officers provided themselves with warm 
beds in the taverns. 

''You damned infernal scoundrel," roars the General. 
"Sowing seeds of disaffection among my troops! Why, 
the quarter-master and I have been up all night, making 
the men comfortable. Let me hear no more such talk, or 
by God Lm damned if I don't ram that red-hot andiron 
down your throat." 

The company is organized. Colonel John Coffee, Jack- 
son's old partner of store-keeping days, and likewise re- 
lated to him by marriage, is to command one regiment 
of cavalry numbering six hundred and seventy; two reg- 
iments of infantry, fourteen hundred men in all, one 
commanded by Colonel William Hall, the other by Colo- 
nel Thomas H. Benton who before the war, had im- 
plored the General to give him a good position should 
one occur. Benton, also, will achieve a foot-note fame by 



his association with Jackson, and will become one of his 
stanchest supporters at Washington. 

William Carroll, a young Pennsylvanian, whose 
soldierly bearing has attracted the General's eye, is made 
Brigade Inspector. The General's aide and secretary is 
John Reid, friend and companion, who, with Major John 
H. Eaton, wrote Jackson's first biography. 

The tall man is in high spirits. The country is at war 
with England! He is in the field leading an army on to 
New Orleans. But there is a fly in the ointment. General 
Wilkinson, whom he hates, is in command at New Or- 
leans, and when Jackson arrives he will be subordinate 
to the man he despises. Jackson anticipates trouble with 
Wilkinson, so, to make sure that everything will come out 
all right, he takes along his pair of dueling pistols and a 
supply of powder used on the ''field of honor." 

On January 7, 181 3, two months after President Madi- 
son had requested Tennessee to move an army to the 
gulf, Jackson's infantry embarks for the sail down the 
river. Colonel Coffee, at the head of his cavalry, gallops 
across the country to join Jackson at Natchez. As 
they start, Jackson sends a note to the Secretary of War : 

'T have the pleasure to inform you that I am now at 
the head of 2,070 volunteers, the choicest of our citizens 
who go at the call of their country to execute the will of 
the government, who have no conscientious scruples ; and 
if the government orders, will rejoice at the opportunity 
of placing the American eagle on the ramparts of Mobile, 
Pensacola and Fort St. Augustine, effectually banishing 
from the southern coasts all British influence." Jackson's 



zeal is far in excess of the exigencies of the war. He 
seems to forget that war has been declared against Eng- 
land, not against Spain, which holds Florida. 

On February 15, the small boats bearing the troops 
arrive at Natchez, where Colonel Coffee's cavalry has 
preceded them. The men have left nearly a thousand miles 
of freezing and tempestuous rivers behind them on their 
thirty-nine days' trip. But General Jackson has arrived 
ahead of the war, for all is quiet on the Mississippi. 


Wilkinson sends a courier to inform Jackson to halt at 
Natchez, as neither quarters nor provisions are ready for 
them at New Orleans. Wilkinson adds that he has no 
thought of yielding his superior command to Jackson, to 
which the Tennessee commander replies : 'T have marched 
with the true spirit of a soldier to serve my country at 
any and every point where service can be rendered." 
February passes, and the impetuous General informs the 
War Department that if there is nothing for his soldiers 
to do in the South, they should be employed in the North. 
Another month and no word from Washington. General 
Jackson and his army are engaged in nothing more im- 
portant than the daily drill. Their provisions are scant, 
and have been so for a long while. The country is at war, 
but the soldiers have no one to fight. 

Then a letter, dated February 6, addressed to Jackson, 
arrives at Natchez toward the end of March. It is signed 
by J. Armstrong, who has succeeded Eustis as Secretary 
of War. Jackson is instructed to dismiss his troops as 
**the cause of embodying and marching to New Orleans 



the corps under your command has ceased to exist." He 
is further instructed to dehver to Wilkinson all articles 
of public property in his possession. Jackson does not 
believe his eyes. His soldiers are five hundred miles from 
home, many of them are sick, none has received a penny 
of pay — and now they are to be dismissed without means 
of transport back to their homes. 

He ignores the order from the War Department, and 
is resolved to personally conduct his men back to their 
homes whence they came. Washington, hearing of this, 
issues new orders, directing Jackson's men to be paid off 
and allowed pay and rations for the homeward journey. 
But they are still to be dismissed in Natchez, and Jackson 
disobeys the second command. He purchases supplies in 
Natchez for the homeward march, giving the merchants 
drafts for the amount, telling them the government will 
honor the paper, and if not he will make it good out of 
His own pocket. 

There are one hundred and fifty sick men in Jackson's 
army as the long, cold march begins over the five hundred 
mile trail through the wilderness to the borders of Ten- 
nessee. There are only eleven wagons for the conveyance 
of these. Many of the sick are mounted on horses, and 
General Jackson himself gives up his three mounts to 
sick men and trudges afoot with his lean and ragged 
army who have worn out their clothing in camp life with 
nothing to do. The army on the homeward march aver- 
ages eighteen miles a day and covers the journey in less 
than a month. 

General Jackson's conduct toward his men in this or- 
deal wins him their lasting affection and tribute, and it 



is on this occasion that they bestow upon him the nick- 
name, "Old Hickory." He is forty-six years old, but he 
can endure without complaint the hardships and forced 
marches of frontier warfare and camp life, which tax 
the capacity of younger men in his command. The soldiers 
soon observe that their General is as tough as hickory, 
hence the affectionate sobriquet. 

On May 22, the army of Tennessee is drawn up in 
the public square of Nashville and dismissed. Thus ends 
a useless and costly expedition, one which shows the in- 
capacity of the government to conduct the war, and the 
cross purposes of its orders in the attempt. But General 
Jackson, though he has not yet fought on the battle front, 
has endeared himself more than ever to Tennessee, and 
is again regarded as her "first citizen." 

But Congress was not willing to so regard him. It pro- 
tested General Jackson's budget for his army's trans- 
portation and other expenses, and the War Department 
was of a mind to make Jackson foot the bill himself, 
which it was impossible for him to do. Colonel Benton 
went to Washington to intercede for Jackson and present 
his claims on behalf of the army of Tennessee. Finally, 
after much haggling, ways and means were found to 
meet the bill, and Jackson was thus saved from financial 

The soldiers, while encamped at Natchez, had little 
to do but to grumble now and then and conjure up jeal- 
ousies against those given commands by General Jackson. 
One such target for the enmity of the troops was William 



Carroll, much admired by Jackson and named brigade 
inspector by him. During the homeward march, one of 
the soldiers thought it time to enliven the journey by pick- 
ing a fight with Carroll, but the matter rested until they 
reached Nashville, when the soldier, who imagined him- 
self insulted by Carroll, sent the latter a challenge to a 
duel. Carroll refused to fight on the ground that his chal- 
lenger was not a gentleman, so his enemies succeeded in 
embroiling in the petty matter Jesse Benton, brother of 
Colonel Benton, who was absent in Washington. Benton's 
social status was such that his challenge to Carroll could 
not be ignored. 

Carroll appealed to General Jackson to become his sec- 
ond, stating that there was a conspiracy to run him out 
of the country. Jackson was thoroughly aroused and de- 
clared Carroll should not be run out of the country. ''Make 
up your mind," said Jackson, ''they shall not run you out 
of the country as long as Andrew Jackson lives in it." 

Jackson approaches Jesse Benton and reprimands him 
for picking a fight with Carroll. But Benton persists in 
settling the affair with pistols, so Jackson resolves to go 
to the "field of honor" with his young friend. Benton fires 
first and hits Carroll on the thumb, then Benton crouches 
to receive the bullet of his antagonist; the ball enters the 
part most exposed in a crouching position, and Benton 
clutches his hind quarters like a boy after a spanking. He 
will not be able to sit with comfort for many weeks. 

Colonel Benton, having returned from Washington, 
hears of the affair, and is infuriated wath General Jackson 
that he should have seconded his brother's adversary. 
Colonel Benton bellows in the taverns against Jackson, 



saying many uncomplimentary things about his comman- 
der; and all of them are duly reported to the General, 
who decides that a good horse-whipping will silence the 
Colonel and teach him respect. 

Colonel Benton is informed of what is in store for him. 
He carries his pistols for the emergency. One day Jack- 
son, in company with Colonel Coffee, is returning from 
the post-office, and in the doorway of a nearby tavern he 
espies Colonel Benton and his brother Jesse, now able to 
limp about the streets. Jackson, whip in hand, approaches 
the Colonel. "Now, you damned infernal rascal, I am 
going to punish you. Defend yourself," says Jackson. 

Benton fumbles in his coat for his pistol, and Jackson 
instantly draws his own pistol from his coat tails. He 
has the "drop" on Benton, and pokes the muzzle of the 
weapon into Benton's ribs, forcing him back through 
the areaway of the tavern. At this moment, Jesse, seeing 
his brother in danger, fires point blank at Jackson. One 
bullet is imbedded in the thick part of his left arm and 
lodges against the bone ; another shatters his left shoulder 
and leaves a long ugly wound. General Jackson falls pros- 
trate at Benton's feet and is bleeding profusely. 

At this moment. Colonel Coffee rushes upon the scene 
and lunges at Colonel Benton, believing it is he who has 
shot Jackson. In a quick turn, Colonel Benton steps back- 
ward and topples down a flight of stairs. 

News of the fracas spreads like wildfire through the 
town, and in a moment Stokely Hays, a nephew of Mrs. 
Jackson, and devoted to the General, is on the scene with 
a dirk, striving might and main to plunge it into the heart 
of Jesse Benton. 



General Jackson is carried to the Nashville Inn. Two 
mattresses are soaked with his blood. The town's medical 
corps are soon in attendance and it is decided that the arm 
must be amputated. But Jackson keeps his arm, bullet and 
all. The ball will not be extracted for more than twenty 
•years, when he will slip quietly from a White House con- 
ference to a room upstairs, bare his arm to a White 
House surgeon who will pluck out the offending bullet 
while the patient smokes his pipe, and have his arm sewed 
up and dressed so that he may return to the executive 
office and resume the interrupted conference. 


Meanwhile, Commodore Oliver H. Perry, only twenty- 
eight years old, has won a notable victory over the British 
fleet on Lake Erie. He captures two ships, two brigs, one 
schooner and one sloop. The British hoist the white flag. 
Thus Ohio is saved, and this enables the Americans to 
regain Detroit and the control of the Michigan country. 
But in the South what is happening? 

The Creek Indians in Alabama have risen en masse 
against the white man's dominion. Remembering the 
words of the great Tecumseh, killed on the battlefield of 
the Thames in Canada, that the white man is ever the 
enemy of the Red, the Indians, aided and armed by Brit- 
ons, have committed an orgy of slaughter at Fort Mims, 
on Lake Tensaw, Alabama, a part of Mississippi Terri- 
tory. Thirty-one days will pass before news of the mas- 
sacre will reach New York. On September i8, Tennessee 
hears of it. The Governor of the State, and officers of the 
militia, repair to the Hermitage to consult General Jack- 



son, who is bed-ridden. His wounds, received in the puerile 
affair with the Bentons as a result of backwoods gossip, 
are slow in healing. 

Rachel props the General up in bed for the council of 
war. The Creeks are to be subdued at least, exterminated 
if possible. Jackson, his arm in a sling and suffering in- 
tense pain from the long, ragged wound in his shoulder, 
again sets in motion the war machinery of the state. 

1 86 

Chapter XV 

FORT MIMS is actually a stockade covering an acre 
of ground enclosed with upright logs pierced with 
five hundred port holes. Within the enclosure stands the 
mansion of Samuel Mims, a wealthy planter, and a string 
of shanties for his slaves. Thus he has protected himself 
from the hostile Indians, and provided a place of refuge 
for his neighbors. Along the Alabama River white settlers 
have seen the Creeks painting their clubs red, and this, 
they know, means war. Governor Claiborne, at New 
Orleans, has dispatched nearly two hundred soldiers to 
defend Fort Mims where five hundred and fifty-three 
persons, among whom are more than a hundred women 
and children, have taken refuge against the rising Indians. 
Each day the fort is thrown into convulsions of fear by 
reports of refugees having seen Indians, bedecked in war 
paint and feathers, creeping in the underbrush nearby. 
Slaves who bring back these unconfirmed reports are 
flogged for alarming the whites. 

It is August 30, 1 81 3. The gates of the fort are open, 
women are preparing dinner for the encampment, children 
are playing around the open doors of the inner houses, 
and civilians and soldiers are smoking and spinning yarns. 



The beat of a drum is heard within the stockade — the 
usual signal for dinner. That is the signal for which one 
thousand Creek warriors have been waiting in a ravine 
four hundred yards from the gate since long before 
dawn. Led by Weathers ford, a half-breed Indian, lieuten- 
ant of Tecumseh, the Creeks have come from Pensacola, 
Spanish territory, where they were supplied with arms 
and ammunition by the British. Among them are five 
Prophets, with medicine bags and magic rods, ready to 
perform their weird incantations and whip the Braves into 
war fury. 

A scene of carnage ensues. Women and children, 
soldiers and civilians are slaughtered with tomahawks 
and scalped. The Red men use their arrows as dirks and 
British guns as clubs. They lift children by their heels and 
dash their heads against the fences. White men spring to 
their guns and attempt a defence. The commander, Major 
Beasley, is killed trying to close the gates against more 
advancing Creeks, who yell and gurgle ecstatically as 
they dash onward to the beat of tom-toms in the death- 
dance. White men leap to the port holes, sending volley 
after volley into the ranks of the Reds. The five Prophets 
lie dead. Their bodies are heaped in the welter of the 

Three hours pass and the slaughter goes on. The fort 
is still in control of the garrison. The Indians retreat, 
and are met by Weathers ford, mounted on a black horse. 
He upbraids them for giving up and leads them to a fresh 
charge to complete the work of destruction. The Red 
men resort to fire and soon the enclosure is a mass of 
flames, all except one little building into which the 

1 88 


wounded whites have crawled. To this building surviving 
women have fled with their children. The Indians, seeing 
them, proceed anew to the killing. Babies are brained, 
women are slashed to ribbons, the wounded are put out 
of their misery. The orgy is complete. Four hundred 
white men, women and children are dead when the south- 
ern sun sets on Mobile Bay. Weathersford tried to lessen 
the needless slaughter, but he could not control the blood- 
lust of the delirious tribe, whose number also was re- 
duced by about four hundred. That night the Indians 
slept on the field of battle among their dead. Following 
this massacre the Indians roved at will in the late Summer 
and Autumn, plundering and killing. It seemed as if not 
a white man could survive in Alabama. 

It remained for white men to write of this bloody 
incident, the causes that produced it, and the battles to 
follow. One may be sure the Indians took a different view 
of the matter. They were bent upon a race war, of which 
the carnage at Fort Minis was meant only to serve notice 
upon the white man that his dominion was to be challenged 
at last. It was a rehearsal for great triumphs of feathered 
men who believed in the potency of tomahawks and the 
Great Spirit to save them from being pushed off the 


This is the news that Governor Blount and General 
Cocke, of East Tennessee, bring to General Jackson, bed- 
ridden at the Hermitage. Blount calls thirty-five hun- 
dred volunteers to the field, in addition to fifteen hundred 
already enrolled in the service of the United States. The 



State Legislature appropriates three hundred thousand 
dollars to defray immediate expenses, should the federal 
government refuse to withstand the expenses of the ex- 
pedition. General Jackson, on September 25, calls his 
division to the field and sets October 4, at Fayetteville, 
near the Alabama border, as the time and place to as- 
semble. The next day he orders Colonel Coffee, with five 
hundred mounted men, mostly volunteers, to proceed to 
Huntsville, in northern Alabama. Tennessee is wild with 
the war fever. Her men would as readily fight Indians 
as British troops. In fact, they are the same, in the opin- 
ion of the southwest. 

On October 4, Coffee reaches Huntsville. He has col- 
lected a force of nearly thirteen hundred men, many of 
whom left their plows standing in the furrows, in their 
zeal to join Jackson's cavalry going to the killing of In- 

The General creeps out of his bed, aided by Rachel. 
She helps him into his field uniform, for he can scarcely 
stand unaided. His left arm is in a sling; he cannot en- 
dure even the pressure of the epaulette upon his left 
shoulder. He is gaunt, yellow and sick from the loss of 
blood, and two of his slaves assist him in mounting his 
horse tethered to a porch post. The General's pistols are 
in the holsters on the saddle. He bends painfully to kiss 
Rachel farewell. She fears she may never see the tall 
man again. But what of that? He is a brave man, and if 
he falls it will be in the service of his country. Rachel 
knows how to smile bravely with the General — and she 
knows how to wait. Jackson spurs his horse and gallops 
down the road, turning to wave a last good-bye to Rachel 



standing at the gate, watching him disappear over the hill 
in a cloud of dust. 

At Fayetteville, Major Reid, Jackson's aide-de-camp, 
reads the General's address to his troops, in which the 
need for discipline is the keynote. Jackson is a firm be- 
liever in the potency of words. He never fails to address 
his troops both before and after battles. He does this 
personally, if possible. His men can never mistake who 
is leading them. 'We must, and will be victorious," says 
Jackson's address. "But we must conquer as men who 
owe nothing to chance, and who, in the midst of victory, 
can still be mindful of what is due to humanity. How 
glorious it will be to remove the blots which have tar- 
nished the fair character bequeathed to us by the fathers 
of the Revolution." 

Only once in the address is there an appeal direct to 
the passions of the soldiers : 'The blood of our women 
and children, recently spilt at Fort Mims, calls for our 
vengeance ; it must not call in vain. Our borders must no 
longer be disturbed by the war-whoop of these savages, 
and the cries of their suffering victims." 

A week passes at Fayetteville, waiting for all the 
troops to arrive, drilling those present, organizing regi- 
ments, purchasing supplies and issuing orders. The Gen- 
eral's wounds appear to heal more quickly in war than in 
peace. His exertions seem to exhilarate him, and the 
light of victory, which he is sure shall be his, dances in 
his eyes. 

It is October ii. A courier from Colonel Coffee dashes 
up to Jackson. The message says the Creeks are approach- 
ing Huntsville. Jackson scratches a few lines and hands 



the paper to the messenger who mounts and is gone. In 
two hours General Jackson has assembled his force and 
is marching to Huntsville, thirty-two miles away. At 
twilight his army is there, having marched six miles an 
hour for five hours. None but western pioneers eager to 
kill Indians could do it. But the Red men are nowhere to 
be seen. The next day the troops march to the Tennessee 
River, cross it, and join Coffee's command on the South 


There is merriment in the camp among the soldiers, 
and not the least of the causes of it is David Crockett, 
notorious bear-hunter, western wag without a peer for 
concocting marvelous narratives of embroidered adven- 
ture. Crockett will become a member of Congress some 
day, and also a national wit. Also, he will stump the coun- 
try against Jackson, but just now he is spilling anecdotes, 
moistened with alcohol to give them freshness and point. 
He is the life of the camp. General Jackson, however, is 
all sternness and severity. He reserves his humor and 
hilarity for his own fireside, for the tavern bars and the 
race tracks. While in the military saddle, or sitting at his 
table at headquarters smiles rarely break the rigidity of 
his long lean jaws. To him war is a serious business, and 
laughter and ease may only come with assured victory. 
Not only is he concerned with the enemy, but with the 
welfare of his men. He has taken many young boys from 
their homes. He knows their fathers and mothers. He is 
an exacting father to them now, or so he wills to be. 

The greatest enemy of all armies — Hunger — stalks into 



his ranks. The General sends letters back to Nashville, 
to the Governor, to East Tennessee, to whomsoever might 
assist him in feeding his army — nearly three thousand 
men and thirteen hundred horses — about to plunge into 
the wilderness and the secret retreats of the Indians, with 
supplies insufficient to last a week. ''Give me provisions 
and I will end this war in a month," he writes. Major 
Lewis, the quartermaster, is sent back to Nashville in 
the hope of expediting the shipment of foodstuffs down 
the rivers. 

On October 19, General Jackson, hearing that hostile 
Creeks are about to swoop down upon a fort occupied 
by friendly Indians, near Ten Islands, of the Coosa River, 
marches his army over the mountains to Thompson's 
Creek, a branch of the Tennessee River, and twenty-two 
miles from the previous encampment. During most of the 
march the army has had to fell timber and make its own 
roads. While at Thompson's Creek, the army throv/s up 
a fort, which the General names Deposit in anticipation 
of supplies which he supposes are en route. Colonel Cof- 
fee's cavalry, who have scoured the banks of the Black 
Warrior, a branch of the Tombigbee, has rejoined Jack- 
son's forces after burning two Indians towns and collect- 
ing four hundred bushels of corn. 

Fresh alarms come from Ten Islands on the Coosa, 
and Jackson is determined to march his army into the 
heart of the enemy's country, food or no food. He will 
trust to chance. On the twenty-fifth, the General ad- 
dresses his soldiers, and the march begins. For a soHd 
week Tennessee soldiers march and halt, according to the 
state of their supplies. Jackson sends foraging parties in 



several directions with instructions to burn Indian vil- 
lages and raid the posts that his own soldiers might eat. 

As he marches, the General keeps up letter writing, im- 
ploring the settlements for succor. At last they reach the 
bank of the Coosa, near Ten Islands. At a nearby town 
named Tallushatchee, it is known that a large body of 
Creeks lie hidden in ravines and ambush awaiting their 
pursuers. General Jackson orders Coffee to march with a 
thousand men and destroy the place. On November 3, 
Colonel Coffee takes Tallushatchee by surprise. White 
men rush up to the wigwams, firing point blank at the 
Indians in war paint and feathers. The Red-skins flee in 
all directions, hotly pursued by Coffee's men, mounted and 
on foot. Several Indians take refuge among the squaws 
and children, believing white men will not kill women 
and children, but a few of these also are numbered among 
the dead. 

The Indians fight as they retreat. Even those who 
are mortally wounded strive to use their bow and arrow 
as their bodies slowly become immersed in deep red pools. 
"The enemy fought with savage fury," Coffee writes in 
his official report to Jackson, "and met death with all its 
horrors, without shrinking or complaining; not one asked 
to be spared, but fought as long as they could stand or sit.'* 
One hundred and eighty-six dead Indians are counted, 
but at least twenty more have crept into the woods to die. 
Five of Coffee's men are killed and forty-one are wounded, 
most of the latter being struck by arrows. 

During the battle of Tallushatchee, a minor Prophet 
addresses the Braves from the roof of a house, assuring 
them that American bullets cannot harm those who be- 



lieve in the Great Spirit. His cries are loud, his gestures 
are vehement. A simple Tennessee soldier takes aim and 
fires. The Prophet topples from the roof in the midst of 
the dancing demons who, like children, look about for 
another Prophet of greater faith. One after another they 
fall, screaming their curses at the pale faces before them, 
and pumping their guns as long as life sustains their 
trigger fingers. General Jackson is elated. That night he 
sends word of the victory to the Governor and to Nash- 
ville. The tidings will reach the white man's country in 
a week or two, and toasts will be drunk at the taverns to 
the health of Andrew Jackson. 


Eighty-four women and children are taken prisoners at 
Tallushatchee. There is not one male Indian left in the 
town. All are dead. On the field of battle is found a 
papoose embraced in the stiff arms of its dead mother. 
One of the soldiers lifts the child upon his horse, and rides 
with it into General Jackson's camp, where all the pris- 
oners are rounded up. Jackson asks first one squaw and 
then another to care for the infant, but each refuses on 
the ground that an evil spirit will abide with the one who 
assumes the burden. ''Kill him, too," say the squaws. 

The Tiger Man, for as such is General Jackson known 
among the hostile Indians, takes the child upon his lap 
and gazes long upon it. He makes a mattress of his big 
army coat on the floor beside his cot. He mixes a little 
brown sugar with water and feeds the papoose himself 
in his tent, the while he sends orders hither and yon to 
his subordinates in the field to go hence and slay more 



Indians in the name of the white man's civilization. The 
General names the papoose Lincoyer, and sends him up 
to Huntsville, where the infant is cared for until the end 
of the Indian wars, when Jackson takes his souvenir 
home to the Hermitage. Rachel welcomes the new ar- 
rival, who soon becomes the playmate of little Andy. 
But Lincoyer will remain an Indian. The General will 
educate him and apprentice him to a saddler in Nashville. 
But the Red-skin develops consumption at the age of 
seventeen years, and dies in "Aunty" Rachel's arms. His 
body finds repose in the garden of the Hermitage. 


General Jackson turns his attention to releasing friendly 
Indians trapped in a fort at Ten Islands on the Coosa. 
They are surrounded by a thousand hostile Creeks, who 
have decided to first starve these traitorous Reds before 
killing them. Jackson has thrown up a fort, which he 
calls Fort Strother. Here his sick and wounded men are 
placed. General Hugh L. White, who has resigned as 
Judge in Nashville, and who is attached to the staff of 
General Cocke, of the Eastern Tennessee Division, is left 
in charge of the fort, while Jackson marches his army 
to the aid of the friendly Indians. 

The soldiers are only a few days from starvation. 
Supplies have not come. Early in the morning Jackson's 
army stands on the banks of the Coosa. The cavalry 
carries the men across the river. The operation consumes 
almost an entire day but the hungr}^ army marches on, 
and by sunset on a chilly November day it is within six 
miles of the town of Talladega. The General gives his 



army repose, for on the morrow he will attack. All night 
long he goes among his troops, cheering them and making 
them as comfortable as possible. 

At midnight a courier gallops into camp and informs 
Jackson that General White will not be able to protect 
Fort Strother, for he has orders to rejoin General Cocke 
at once. Jackson is in a rage. Fort Strother is at the mercy 
of the marauders. His sick and wounded men, weakened 
almost to extremes by lack of food and proper medical 
care, may be murdered before he can return to protect 
them. But Jackson decides to trust to luck. He will make 
short shrift of the enemy in front of him, and then go 
back to Fort Strother, where he hopes sufficient supplies 
will be on hand. 

At sunrise on November 8, Jackson's army moves in 
battle order. The militia is on the left, the volunteers on 
the right, with the cavalry forming the extreme left and 
right wings. They assemble in a curve and an advance 
guard goes forth to draw the Indians into battle. The 
Braves fight like veterans, but they are unable to with- 
stand the murderous fire of Jackson's men. They retreat 
to the mountains, pursued into ravines and ambush for 
three miles. Two hundred and ninety Creeks lie dead on 
the battlefield. Jackson's casualties are seventeen killed 
and eighty-three wounded. Thus the beleaguered Creeks 
in the friendly fort at Ten Islands are delivered, and 
they rush forth to show their gratitude to the Tiger Man 
who has effected their release. 

Jackson turns back to Fort Strother. Not a pound of 
flesh or a peck of meal has arrived. There are ominous 
rumblings of discontent among the soldiers. The General 



scours the land for food and finds a few lean cattle. One 
day a starving soldier approaches General Jackson. He 
demands food. 

"It has always been a rule with me," Jackson replies, 
"never to turn away a hungry man when it was in my 
power to relieve him, and I will most cheerfully divide 
with you what I have." Jackson puts his hand in his 
pocket and gives the soldier three acorns. "This is the 
best and only fare I have," he says. "Drink a pitcher 
of water with them ; that is what I do." 


Chapter XVI 

THE white victory at Talladega and Tallushatchee 
has had a sobering effect upon the Creeks. The 
Hillabee tribe dispatches a messenger to Fort Strother to 
sue for peace. Jackson replies that the massacre at Fort 
Mims shall be avenged and with interest, but he declares he 
does not wish to make war upon Indians who are disposed 
to become friendly. They must, however, afford evidences 
of their sincerity by returning prisoners and property, and 
surrendering the instigators of the war and the murderers 
of white men and women at Fort Mims. The Indian 
negotiator returns to his tribe and reports that General 
Jackson is willing to treat with them. 

Meanwhile, General White, who knows nothing of these 
peace overtures, has descended upon the Hillabee towns, 
burning and killing. The Hillabees are amazed. First 
Jackson outlines conditions for peace and then sends his 
army to destroy even the village from whence the peace 
messenger had come. The Indians do not know that Jack- 
son is in a rage when he hears what General White has 
done. The Red warriors, however, blame Jackson, and 
from that moment they fight with greater fury; no more 
will they ask for peace from the white man. 



Before all the Indian world, Andrew Jackson stands 
as the betrayer of his written word. General White's 
zeal has probably extended the war a year longer than 
is necessary. For this General Cocke, commander of the 
East Tennessee militia, will be blamed. He will also be 
censured by Jackson, and in history, for failing to send 
supplies to Fort Strother, as he had promised. But Gen- 
eral Cocke did the best he could. He, nor none other, 
could be expected to please General Jackson short of 
complete compliance with the tall man's orders. 

For ten weeks, Jackson's army is inactive at Fort 
Strother. Their first passion to punish the Indians has 
been satiated. Many of them are weary of army life and 
long to return to their homes. They cannot be expected 
to march and fight on empty stomachs. Many are in rags. 

Aid and comfort for their mutinous intentions come 
even from certain of^cers. First the militia, then the vol- 
unteers, appoint a day when they will march back to their 
homes, with or without the consent of their General. 
But on each occasion, Jackson is up before dawn. One 
morning he orders the volunteers to shoot down the first 
militiamen who dare to desert. The next morning it is the 
militiamen who stand behind their cannon and rifles 
ready to rake the ranks of the volunteers should they break 
for liberty. For the moment the soldiers are awed by 
Jackson's wrath and the argument of his cannons. But 
not for long. 

They virtually force Jackson to lead them back to 



Fort Deposit where he has told them suppHes have arrived 
and are on the way to Fort Strother. The men do not 
believe it, so Jackson, leaving a sufficient number of loyal 
troops behind to defend Strother, marches ahead of his 
men through the wilderness to Fort Deposit. On the 
road they see a drove of cattle headed for Strother. The 
starving soldiers build camp fires, slay the beasts and eat. 
But plenty of meat only increases their resolve not to 
return to Fort Strother. They have gone this far toward 
home, w^hy not continue? The order to return is given in 
Jackson's absence, but one company moves off on the 
homeward road. The General, hearing of this, gallops in 
pursuit and overtakes them. He plants his horse in the 
middle of the road and stands his rifle against the flank 
of his mount. His left arm is still in a sling. 

His eyes are blazing with pent-up fury and he boils 
over in a torrent of oaths. His manner and language is 

*'By the Immaculate God," he shouts in stentorian 
tones, 'T will blow the first damned villain to eternity 
who advances one step!" With his one good arm he has 
aimed his rifle at the ranks of sullen patriots. There is 
mumbling along the file as each man looks upon Jackson's 
face and blanches. They decide to march back to Fort 

As December lo approaches General Jackson is brought 
face to face with actual mutiny. The volunteers of his 
army enlisted for one year on December lo, 1812. They 
consider the months they spent in idleness at Natchez as 
being included in the year of active service, but Gen- 



eral Jackson concludes otherwise. He insists the men 
must actually serve three hundred and sixty-five days, 
and that the months they were not in active service do 
not count, even though they were at the call of the gov- 
ernment. The issue is clear-cut. But Jackson wastes no 
time. While attempting to restrain the men from march- 
ing back home, he sends out an appeal to Governor 
Blount for new levies. The volunteers are equally deter- 
mined. All are weary of the war. 

On the evening of December 9 an officer enters Jack- 
son's tent and informs him that the whole brigade is in 
mutiny. The tiger in the man is aroused. He can shoot 
down white men, even his own soldiers, with as little 
compunction as he can slay Indians. He orders officers and 
soldiers to put down the mutiny. The malcontents are 
drawn up in a file. They face the cannon and rifles of the 
militiamen once more. They also face Jackson, who stands 
beside his horse between the ranks of would-be deserters 
and the militiamen ready to mow them down. He tells 
the men reinforcements are already hastening to his as- 
sistance, and that he is awaiting word from Washington 
as to whether the men are entitled to be discharged or 

"I am done," he declares solemnly, "with entreaty. 
You must now determine whether you will go or peace- 
ably remain. If you still persist in your determination to 
move forcibly off, the point between us shall soon be 
decided." He demands an explicit answer on the spot. 
Artillerymen have their fingers on the triggers, ready 
to obey Jackson's command to fire. Hasty conferences 
are held among the disgruntled volunteers, and they de- 



cide to remain until the reinforcements arrive. General 
Jackson is once more triumphant. 


The General keeps his beloved Rachel informed of 
v^hat is going on. 

'Tressed with mutiny and sedition of the volunteer 
infantry," he writes, ''to suppress it, having been com- 
pelled to arrange my artilery, against them, whom I once 
loved like a father loves his children, was a scene that 
created feelings better to be Judged of than expressed. A 
once conquered foe in front rallying to give us batde, 
and a whole Brigade, whose Patriotism was once the 
boast of their Genl and their country, abandoning the 
service and declaring they never would advance across 
the Cosa again . . . the officers atempted to lay the 
blame on the soldiary, and result proved that the officers, 
and not the soldiers were at the root of the discontent 
. . . My heart is with you, my duty compels me to re- 
main in the field, whether we will have anough men to 
progress with the campaing I cannot say, for I fear the 
boasted Patriotism of the State was a mere buble." 

General Cocke's army having strengthened Jackson's 
position, the General permits his disgruntled soldiers to 
return to their homes, but not without first having read 
to them an address which virtually brands them as de- 
serters. Cocke brings two thousand men, but the service 
of more than half of them is about to expire, and the 
others are ill-clothed for a winter campaign. 

Many of the horsemen under Coffee, who has been 
made a General, have likewise deserted. In this fashion 



America's second war is being prosecuted against Great 
Britain and her ally, the American Indians. The militia- 
men insist they have enlisted for three months only, and 
their terms will expire, they say, on January 4. Thus 
Jackson's army is disintegrating. Meanwhile, the British, 
using Spanish Pensacola as a base, are menacing Mobile 
and New Orleans. Governor Blount orders a new levy 
of twenty-five hundred men to proceed to Fayetteville, 
and await Jackson's orders. The Governor also orders 
General Cocke to raise a new division of East Tennes- 
seeans. The enlistments are to be for three months. Under 
no condition will the men serve longer. 

For twelve days in early January, 181 4, General 
Jackson marches his raw recruits into the Indian terri- 
tory and accomplishes results disastrous to the Braves. 
Everywhere Indian villages are burned, their stores are 
raided and hand-to-hand battles are fought. Bravery and 
courage is equally distributed between the whites and the 
Red men. In one of these battles General Coffee is 
wounded, and Colonel A. Donelson, Mrs. Jackson's 
nephew, is killed. In the several engagements, Jackson's 
losses are twenty killed and seventy-five wounded. One 
hundred and eighty-nine Creeks lie dead on the various 

The return to Fort Strother is made in safety, and 
Jackson dismisses those whose terms have expired. He 
bids them farewell in a stirring, fervent address. Early 
in February, two thousand East Tennesseeans are on the 
way to join him ; almost as many more from the western 
part of the state are awaiting his orders at Fayetteville, 



and on the sixth the thirty-ninth regiment of the United 
States infantry, six hundred strong, marches into Fort 

In the latter regiment is a youngster named Sam Hous- 
ton. He is a brave lad and Jackson takes a liking to him 
instantly. Sam will go very far. Some day he will be 
Governor of Tennessee. Then something mysterious will 
happen and his wife will desert him. Houston will go 
back to live among the Indians and make his way toward 
Texas. Indeed, he will become the President of Texas, 
and later a United States Senator. They will name a 
city, a fort, and what not, in his honor. But much that 
Sam will know of soldiery in the years ahead he will 
learn from Andrew Jackson in the wilderness as an 
Indian fighter. 

Among the raw recruits mustered into the service at 
Fayetteville in December, 1813, was John Woods, eight- 
een years old. He was attached to the twenty-eighth 
regiment of West Tennessee, light infantry. Soon the 
company is marched into Fort Strother. One early 
morning in February, Private Woods is on guard. It is 
long past breakfast time and Woods has not eaten. He 
obtains permission to go to his tent for his blanket and 
finds his breakfast there which his comrades have left 
for him. Woods begins to eat it, when the officer of the 
day approaches and orders him to quit and clean up the 
camp. The Private refuses until he has had his breakfast. 
He declares he has been given permission to leave his 



post and will return to it when he has had his breakfast. 
The officer upbraids the young soldier and orders his 

Word of this reaches General Jackson, who has had 
all the mutiny on his hands he means to endure. Jackson 
rushes from his tent. 

''Where is the damned rascal ? Shoot him ! Shoot him ! 
Blow ten balls through the infernal villain's body." Jack- 
son believes the time has arrived for making an example 
of mutinous soldiers. He erroneously believes that Woods 
belongs to the same company that had previously mu- 
tinied, and the General is too busy and too angry to find 

Woods is duly courtmartialed and ordered to be shot. 

The courtmartial meets in a forest between two tents, 
and the prisoner is seated on a log waiting his fate. Gen- 
eral Jackson rides by. "Be cautious and mind what you 
are about," he tells the presiding judge, ''for by the 
Eternal, the next man that is condemned I won't pardon ; 
and this is a hearty, hale young fellow." 

Friends of Woods prevail upon Jackson to show merry, 
but the General is adamant. Remembering the great worry 
he has had with malcontents, and now commanding a 
large army in the southwest, in the ranks of which are 
men none too eager to fight, Jackson roars and storms. 
"No. By the Immaculate God, this villain shall die !" 

On March 14, Jackson draws up the whole army to 
witness the execution. He thinks the spectacle will react 
as a good tonic for the patriotism of those who may be 
thinking of flight or disobedience. 

In the general order which is read to the condemned 



man, he is accused of previous flight, but this is an error 
which first gained currency at his trial. Woods is made 
to stand beside his coffin when the firing squad ends his 

Not one man in Jackson's army beheved the General 
would dare to order the execution of a soldier for such 
a slight infraction of the military discipline, which was 
the most that Private Woods was guilty of. Jackson is 
only a commander of the militia. Even a General of the 
regular army would not take a man's life without first 
referring the question to the War Department and for 
review by the President of the United States. But to 
General Jackson this formula is a waste of time. 

At the end of March, General Jackson delivers the 
finishing blow to the Creek nation. He destroys a body 
of the Creeks at Tohopeka, or Horse-Shoe Bend, in the 
northeast corner of Tallapoosa County, Alabama. He 
pushes on to the last refuge of the Braves — Hickory 
Ground, at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa, 
and the Holy Ground, a few miles distant, where the 
Indians had been taught to believe that no white man 
could tread the Holy Ground and live. Fort Jackson is 
raised on Hickory Ground. In this battle young Sam 
Houston is wounded. An arrow is buried in his thigh, 
and he requests two of his comrades to extract it. They 
tug at it, and finally withdraw the lance, bringing with it 
strings of his flesh. The intrepid Houston rejoins his 
comrades and fights hand-to-hand with the Braves, not 
one of whom asks for quarter. The battle of Tohopeka 



resolves itself into a slow, laborious, methodical slaughter 
of Indians. General Jackson is constantly at the head 
of his army, cheering and directing. 

At last, the carnage sickens even Jackson. He sends a 
friendly Indian to tell the Chiefs the lives of the Red men 
will be spared if they surrender. A volley of bullets from 
the Creek warriors is the answer to Jackson. The battle 
continues until night. Days pass, and the Red men are 
in council. As a result of the pow-wow, the surrender of 
Weathersford, brave leader of the Creeks, follows speed- 
ily. On the way to Jackson's tent, Weathersford shoots 
a deer which he presents to the General. Jackson is cor- 
dial to the Chief. They drink brandy. 'Tf you wish to con- 
tinue the war,'* says Jackson, ''you are at liberty to de- 
part unharmed." 

"There was a time," Weathersford replies, "when I had 
a choice, and could have answered you. I have none now 
— even hope has ended. Once I could animate my war- 
riors to battle, but I cannot animate the dead. My war- 
riors can no longer hear my voice; their bones are at 
Talladega, Tallushatchee, Emuckfau, and Tohopeka." In 
the battle of Tohopeka, the Indian losses are eight hun- 
dred killed; three hundred captured; Jackson's losses are 
forty-five killed, one hundred and forty-five wounded. 

Jackson compels the Creeks to remove to the North, 
thus cutting them ofif from intercourse with Florida. He 
also throws thousands of Indians upon the bounty of 
the government for succor, and during the Summer of 
1 8 14 they feed at the public stores. 

In his customary manner, General Jackson puts an 
end to the zeal of friendly Indians who are bent upon 



exterminating their Red brothers for the massacre at 
Fort Mims. He orders that all who molest a Creek Indian 
after he has surrendered shall be treated as an enemy of 
the United States. 

Peace reigns throughout the Mississippi Territory. The 
defeat of the Creeks, achieved in seven months, paves 
the way for the defence of Mobile and of New Orleans. 

On May 31, 18 14, Jackson is appointed Major Gen- 
eral in the army of the United States, succeeding Wil- 
liam Henry Harrison. Thus, the government pays its 
tribute to the conquerer of the Creeks. Mississippi Terri- 
tory presents Jackson with a sword, the first of many 
public gifts to be showered upon him. What has he fought 
in these seven months? Indians, starvation, mutiny and 
chronic diarrhcea. The notion that Andrew Jackson has 
an iron body perishes before the fact of his almost con- 
stant illness since his duel with Dickinson in 1806. His 
will alone is iron. 

The British troops have not been idle. In the Summer 
of 1814, an army is led against Washington, the seat of 
the national government, now a town of only a few thou- 
sand inhabitants. The heads of the government are driven 
into the woods, while the English burn the Capitol and 
the Executive Mansion. They move on to Baltimore, but 
are stopped by the guns of Fort McHenry. Day and night 
the British bombard the fort, but are unable to capture 

Francis Scott Key has been watching the bombardment 
throughout the night, and it inspires him to write "The 



Star Spangled Banner." The United States at least gets 
a song out of the War of 1812. From another of its wars, 
in 191 7, it will get Prohibition. 

What of the Indians? They will pass. In a few genera- 
tions they will be immortalized in wooden statues deco- 
rating the fronts of American tobacco stores. And then, 
even these will pass. A few will be gathered in the 
museums, not to perpetuate the memory of America's 
early authentic settlers, but as specimens of the wood 
carver's art. 

Meanwhile, General Jackson is ordered to negotiate a 
treaty with the Creeks, and to command the southern 
division of the army. The terms of the treaty, signed 
August 10, 181 4, are severe. The Creeks virtually give 
up the ghost. They lose their land and their rights upon 
it. The white man is pushing ahead. England and the 
United States are weary of the war. A month before 
the treaty with the Indians is signed at Fort Jackson, 
American delegates are on their way to Ghent to meet 
with British representatives to negotiate a peace. 

What's that ! Peace talk ? Why, General Andrew Jack- 
son has not begun to fight. These Indian affairs are only 
a rehearsal. On to Mobile ! On to New Orleans ! 



Chapter XVII 

GENERAL JACKSON arrives at Mobile to fight the 
soldiers of England. Excepting his brief experience 
as a boy in the War for Independence, it is the first time 
in his life he is called upon to face a civilized foe. But 
British troops are his ancient enemy and, as he does not 
consider them civilized, he is determined to crush them 
as he has exterminated the Creeks, excepting those rem- 
nants of Red-sticks who fled into Florida and found 
asylum under the protection of the Spanish government. 
The Spanish government is "neutral" in the War of 
1 812. It manifests this attitude first, by providing a haven 
for the Creeks before they went forth to battle against 
Jackson's army; second, by receiving back into its fold 
the defeated Braves; third, by providing a base for the 
British fleet in the Gulf of Mexico from which English 
ships might sail forth to shell a thousand miles of the 
American gulf coast and capture, if they can. Mobile and 
New Orleans. 

But the British plan is even more ambitious. Having 
captured New Orleans, the fleet will sail up the Missis- 
sippi and unite with the British forces in Canada. America 
may then beg for peace from the conquerors of Napoleon. 



Jackson suspects this program when he turns his face 
from the council of peace with the Indians and proceeds 
to the offices of war at Mobile and New Orleans. He is 
determined he shall have either "a clean victory or a clean 
defeat." Either side will have something to crow about 
when the war is over. 

The government at Washington might just as well be 
in the moon, so far as it is of any service to Jackson. 
All that it sends him are letters of advice, which are nearly 
a month in transit, from officials utterly incompetent to 
advise him correctly. 

He is left absolutely to his own devices to decide those 
nice questions of diplomacy with the Spanish government 
of Florida. He must virtually raise his own army for the 
battles to come, as he had to do in the wars with the 

Pessimism reigns at Washington and throughout the 
eastern section of the country. The famous Hartford 
Convention, dominated by some of the most formidable 
politicians of the nation, among whom is Daniel Web- 
ster, calls upon President Madison to stop the war ; Jack- 
son, hearing of this, says if he were commanding the 
army of the East he "would hang every rascal at that 
convention." The West and the South, however, still burn 
with patriotic ardor ; and in certain other quarters there is 
a desire that the war continue, although the element of 
patriotism in these sections may be supposed to contain 
a slight ingredient of more material matters. 

For example, take the duPont de Nemours family in 
the War of 1812. Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, 
statesman, economist and powder manufacturer, de- 



fended Louis XVI at the storming of the Tuileries. He 
was imprisoned by the Jacobins but escaped with his two 
sons and came to America. The elder du Pont was friendly 
to Jefferson and would have settled in Virginia but for 
his detestation of slavery which dominated the industry 
and economics of that state. He settled on the banks of 
the Brandywine, in the State of Delaware, and there his 
son, Eluthere Irenee, in the first years of the nineteenth 
century, established the Eleutherian Mills for the manu- 
facture of gun-powder. It was these mills that furnished 
all the gun-powder used by the army and navy in the 
War of 1812, and thus was laid the foundation of the 
fortune of the du Pont family, whose members now and 
then have become statesmen, bankers, newspaper owners, 
patrons of art and music — but all and sundry loyal to 
the first and present love, the manufacture of powder. 

Pensacola, in 181 4, has the best harbor on the gulf. It 
is half a day's sail, or two days' march to Mobile. Spain, 
whose king has just been restored to his throne by Eng- 
land, can ill afford to deny Britain the use of the harbor 
and the forts as a base from which to proceed against 
the United States. Still, Spain has reason to feel that 
her hold upon Florida may not last as long as she might 
desire. The Americans are reaching out for more and 
more territory, and are acquiring it, either by conquest 
or purchase. Americans want to occupy the whole con- 
tinent. The Spanish Governor, Gonzalez Manrique, is 
adept in all the art of a grandee, but his garrison consists 
of only a few companies of shabby troops, and he has 



only enough powder in his magazines to fire an occasional 
royal salute. The population that composes his princi- 
pality are Spaniards, fishermen, West India traders, Ne- 
groes, Indians, soldiers, free-booters and pirates. 

But there is great activity in Pensacola now. Nine 
armed British ships are at anchor in the harbor. The 
fleet is under the command of Captain W. H. Percy, 
of the ship Hermes. Colonel Edward Nichols, command- 
ing the land forces, is busy issuing proclamations to the 
natives of Louisiana and Kentucky, extolling His Maj- 
esty's cause, while Captain Woodbine, one of his of- 
ficers, is dressing Creek Indians in the scarlet tunics of 
British soldiers and trying to drill them. 

The news of all this reaches the ears of General Jack- 
son. His strategy is to attack the enemy where he finds 
him, and he will certainly find him in Florida should he 
take it into his head to go there. Accordingly, General 
Jackson writes to Secretary of War Armstrong, pointing 
out that England is using Florida as a base, and that 
British officers are training American Indians in Pensa- 
cola for war against the United States. What shall he do ? 
Jackson asks. Shall he proceed to an invasion of Florida, 
or shall he wait until the British emerge from their 
haven? Washington is nearly thrown into a spasm of 
fright when it receives this letter from General Jackson. 
Madison and his advisers know the General's tempera- 
ment only too well. They are afraid that he may do some- 
thing to disturb the peaceful relations between the United 
States and Spain, and cause the latter country to take 
up arms on the side of England. The fears at Washing- 
ton are well grounded. 



Almost before General Jackson's letter reaches its des- 
tination, he marches his army into the city of Pensacola 
and storms the town. The Spanish Governor is greatly 
perturbed, to put it mildly. Who is this western barbarian, 
this Indian fighter, that dares to invade a neutral country 
and take it by storm? 

In one or two sharp letters, Jackson informs the Gov- 
ernor that if he desires to continue to rule he had better 
behave as a neutral in the future. The pride of the gran- 
dee is deeply wounded by the high-handed tone of Jack- 
son's warning. 

It is extremely painful for him to stomach this : *Tn 
future, I beg you to withhold your insulting charges 
against my government, for one more inclined to listen 
to slander than I am; nor consider me any more as a 
diplomatic character, unless so proclaimed to you from 
the mouths of my cannon." 

If President Madison had seen that letter from Jack- 
son he surely would have died. Meanwhile, Secretary 
Armstrong is composing a nice letter to Jackson, urging 
him to be most cautious in his. dealings with the Spanish 
officials in Florida, and please not to offend them without 
the most justifiable warrant. This letter reaches General 
Jackson after the war is over, and v/hen Florida has al- 
ready been invaded, taught a lesson in neutrality, and the 
Spanish grandee made to feel that Andrew Jackson is a 
man of his word and not such a bad fellow as generals 

Meanwhile, the British, disgusted with the action of 

Governor Manrique in virtually capitulating to the Amer- 
icans, have blown up Fort Barrancas, six miles from Pen- 



sacola, at the entrance of the harbor, and departed. They 
will be heard from again. 


General Jackson reaches Mobile. He finds it a village of 
not more than a hundred and fifty houses, not one of 
which is able to withstand artillery. But the city will be 
won or lost at Mobile Point, thirty miles down the bay. 
General Jackson has sent a hurried call to Tennessee and 
Kentucky for additional troops. His call is responded to 
with more alacrity than formerly, for Tennesseeans are 
eager to fight the British. Many youths and men offer to 
pay as much as thirty dollars to go as substitutes for those 
who are called to the colors. General Coffee will soon be in 
the field beside his old commander, with horses and men. 

At Mobile Point, General Jackson finds what are prac- 
tically the ruins of a fort — Fort Bowyer. Still, it is plain 
to Jackson that Fort Bowyer is Mobile's chance of safety. 
It has not been tenanted for more than a year and con- 
tains nothing for its defence except cannons and cannon 
balls. In this fort. General Jackson places a garrison of 
one hundred and sixty men, commanded by Major Law- 
rence, of the second regiment of United States infantry. 

On September 12, 181 4, a body of British marines and 
Indians are landed on the peninsula a few miles from the 
fort. The Indians are the remnants of the Creeks, whom 
Captain Woodbine has ''trained" at Pensacola. Toward 
evening of this day four British men-o'-war glide into 
view and drop anchor six miles off Mobile Point. These 
ships are the Hermes, the Sophia, the Carron and the 
Childers; the whole under command of Captain Percy. 



For a few days there is great suspense within the fort. 
The Americans know they will be attacked by a mighty 
squadron of the British navy — the Mistress of the Seas. 
Some of the enemy ships have been released from partic- 
ipation in the Napoleonic wars, but, with the Corsican 
Emperor banished to Elba, Britain may now afford to 
spread her ships across the seas. 

On September 15, the Americans peer out through the 
portholes of the fort and over the ramparts. There is 
martial activity on the peninsula among Woodbine's Red- 
sticks, and off the coast Captain Percy has brought up his 
ships in battle array, the flagship Hermes leading. General 
Jackson gives orders to Major Lawrence that under no 
circumstances shall the garrison surrender. H the British 
are to capture Mobile they must first reduce Fort Bowyer 
to ashes. Nothing less will do for General Jackson. The 
slogan, *'Don't give up the fort," is adopted as the watch- 
word of the day. Late in the afternoon, the British flotilla 
opens fire. One by one, the ships give the fort practice 
in long-range shooting, with little damage being done on 
either side. 

Then the gallant Captain Percy runs the Hermes into 
the narrow channel that leads into Mobile Bay. He is 
within musket shot of the fort, and turns his broadside to 
its guns. The other ships follow suit behind him. Wood- 
bine opens fire with a howitzer from behind a bluff on 
shore, but a battery on the fort's South side scatters the 
Creeks and persuades the British captain to keep his 
distance. A furious cannonading follows. For one hour 
and a half the fort and the British ships exchange balls 
of fire. It would seem as though the old fort could not 



withstand many more balls from the cannons. But what 
has happened? 

Captain Percy's flagship, the Hermes, is raked from 
stem to stern. Everything is swept from her decks — men 
and materials — and she wallows in the sea. She is caught 
in the current and drifts half a mile down stream. Cap- 
tain Percy transfers his wounded to the Sophia, and sets 
fire to his ship. The little garrison have time to reload 
their guns for the next attack. They have humbled one of 
the ships of the mighty British fleet — and now it is the 
Sophia's turn. 

The Sophia tries to take the lead, but she is soon 
severely crippled and wriggles out of range. The two re- 
maining ships hoist sail and depart for their old anchor- 
age off the coast. Late at night the Hermes blows up 
with an explosion that is heard by General Jackson thirty 
miles away at Mobile. Woodbine, his marines and In- 
dians have vanished from the peninsula before dawn of 
the next day. Through the morning mist the Americans 
in the garrison see the outline of the enemy ships far off 
shore. British losses are thirty-two killed and forty 
wounded. The American losses are four dead and ten 
wounded within the fort. Mobile has been saved! 

On September 21, General Jackson puts aside his sword 
for the moment and grasps his pen. He is a writing Gen- 
eral as well as a fighting General. His papers never fail 
to produce terror among the enemy and confidence among 
his troops. 

"Louisianians," he writes, "the base, the perfidious 
Britons have attempted to invade your country. They had 
the temerity to attack Fort Bowyer with their incon- 



grous horde of Indian and Negro assas-sins. They seemed 
to have forgotten that this fort was defended by freemen. 
They were not long indulged in this error. The gallant 
Lawrence, with his little Spartan band, has given them 
a lecture that will last for the ages ; he has taught them 
what men can do when fighting for their liberties, when 
contending against slaves. He has convinced Sir W. H. 
Percy that his companions in arms are not to be con- 
quered by proclamations; that the strongest British bark 
is not invulnerable to the force of American artillery, 
directed by the steady nervous arm of a freeman ... I 
well know that every man whose soul beats high at the 
proud title of freeman; that every Louisianian, either by 
birth or adoption, will promptly obey the voice of his 
country; will rally round the eagle of Columbia^ secure 
it from the pending danger, or nobly die in the last ditch 
in its defense." 

General Jackson is forced to pass six weeks in idleness 
at Mobile, waiting for fresh Tennessee troops. There are 
days when it seems as though he is ill almost to extremes. 
Those who see him at his headquarters comment upon his 
gaunt, yellow, haggard appearance. In after years artists 
and sculptors will portray him at this period of his life 
as being a perfect specimen of vigorous manhood— your 
ideal soldier. As a fact, almost every letter of his to 
Rachel contains reference to the persistency of his ''bowel 
complaint." At Mobile, October 21, he writes : 

"My Dear : Genl Coffees near approach, gives not only 



confidence to me, but to the country, and I trust shortly 
that I will be able to drive the lyon from his den, and 
give thereby permanent security to this section of the 
lower country. The approach of the British to and burn- 
ing of the capitol, may be considered a disgrace to the 
nation, but it will give impulse and energy to our cause, 
the change, too in the Secrataries of War (James Mon- 
roe has succeeded Armstrong), will aid much to the 
energies of measures, and in the safety of our cause, 
from our late successes, we have a right to hope that the 
great ruler of the universe, who holds the destiny of 
nations in his hand is on our side and as you Justly say, 
if that is the case we will be successful, we will conquor. 

"You ask me where is the bone that came out of my 
arm (this is his left arm, shattered in the affray with 
the Bentons). I enclosed it, in the letter that announced 
that I had sent it, when you opened the letter it has fell 
out, but do not grieve at its loss, it gave me pain, there- 
fore the loss of it from my arm gives me pleasure. 

"Say to my son I expect to see him shortly, that he 
must learn to ride, be a good boy and never cry, that he 
must do every thing his sweet mamma tells him, and he 
must learn to be a soldier, as to you I can only say your 
good understanding, and reflection will reconcile you to 
our separation, the situation of our country require it 
for who could brook a British tyranny, who would not 
prefer dying free, struggling for our liberty and religion, 
than live a British slave." 

General Jackson is cute. He well knows that his refer- 
ence to religious matters, about which he is both ignorant 



and indifferent, will please his wife who, as she advances 
in years and forgets the recklessness, imprudence, indis- 
cretions and general gayety of her youth, becomes more 
and more painfully pious, in an intolerant, narrow sense. 
Adoring his wife, Jackson adopts as his own whatever 
notions she may hold with respect to matters pertaining 
to the soul. He knows it will do him no harm, and will 
produce peace and harmony at the hearthstone of the 

And this warrior has need of at least one place in the 
wide world where peace dwells. He is eternally at war 
with the world of men. He is ever at peace in the world 
of women. And yet, men love him and follow him. 
Women admire him as they might a lion; but they fear 
him and shrink from him, knowing how loudly he can 
roar. But Rachel has never heard Andrew Jackson roar. 
The commonest soldier in his ranks knows the intrinsic 
character of her tall man better than she knows it. The 
Jackson who goes home from the wars is not the General 
of the battlefield, not even the same man who once fre- 
quented the race track, the cock-pit and sang ribald, 
frontier songs over tavern bars. 


News of troops comes at last. But the character of the 
news! At Fort Jackson, two hundred men, of those who 
had been called out three months before to garrison the 
fort, have mutinied and marched home. It is the old dis- 
pute over whether they enlisted for three months or six 
months. General Jackson again storms, swears, threatens. 
His sickness falls from his shoulders like an old cape 



and he straightens up, as erect as stone, and swears "by 
the Eternal" he will teach ''the damned rascals" a lesson. 
Off go his letters to his subordinates at Fort Jackson, 
demanding the immediate arrest and trial of the offenders. 
Let not one man escape, he says. He cares not what they 
thought about the term of the enlistment, whether it is 
three months or three years. There is a war to be fought. 
The enemy is at the gates of Mobile, and New Orleans 
is undefended, an easy prey of the British fleet if it had 
gumption enough to sail up the gulf and take it. 

For the present Jackson will leave the capture and 
courtmartial of the offenders at Fort Jackson to the 
officers in charge. He has no time for such details now. 
But later on he will have something to say about the 
mutiny. But he will never hear the last of the step that 
he has already made up his mind he will take. 

At length real troops arrive. On November 25, General 
Coffee comes with twenty-eight hundred men. There are 
volunteers from Mississippi, and a body of friendly 
Creeks. In a short while, when he gets to New Orleans, he 
will cause the jails to be emptied and he will enlist the 
convicts in his army; there will be Negroes, too; and 
pirates — Jean LaFitte's crew — whom the British failed to 
inveigle into their own ranks ; and there will be French- 
men of Louisiana. General Jackson is in command of an 
army of four thousand men, of whom one thousand are 
troops of the regular United States army. 

Having freed Pensacola as a base for the British fleet, 
having saved Mobile by prompt action at Fort Bowyer, 
where he still leaves Major Lawrence in charge of the 
garrison, General Jackson turns the nose of his horse 



toward New Orleans. Sick and worn, he rides seventeen 
miles a day, covering the one hundred and seventy miles 
by December i. 

Here is the city wherein this Bad Man of the once 
Cumberland Settlement will achieve immortality. 

Does Andrew Jackson remember the day long ago 
when, as a boy, he yearned to run off to war, to partici- 
pate actively in the War for Independence, and, being 
shunted off to a boarding house by his mother, he picked 
up a scythe and began assaulting the weeds around the 
house with extreme fury, saying to himself, ''Oh, if I 
were a man, how I would sweep down the British with 
my grass blade?" 

Does General Jackson remember longing for that 
chance ? 

He smiles now as he enters New Orleans. The day has 


Chapter XVIII 

NEW ORLEANS, situated below sea level, in 1814 
is a city of twenty thousand inhabitants. Sugar 
culture and the cotton trade are in their infancy. Still, 
there is stored in the city one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand bales of cotton, the product of two years, worth in 
England more than a half million sterling. Also, there 
are ten thousand hogsheads of sugar, which have a total 
value of a million and a quarter dollars. There are a 
number of fairly good sea-going vessels lying in the 
harbors. Altogether, New Orleans is considered a rich 
prize by the British, who will spend a million sterling 
in their expedition to conquer the city and plunder it. 
French Creoles form the majority of the population of 
the city; among them are many Spaniards, half castes, 
sailors from all the ports of the world, pirates, soldiers of 
fortune, and a residue of Americans, among whom is 
Edward Livingston, an exceptionally able man of wide 
culture and learning. 

Livingston, born in New York State, of an aristocratic 
family, threw his lot in with Jeffersonian democracy, and 
began what promised to be a brilliant career in Congress. 



He, with Burr, supported Tennessee's claim for admis- 
sion into the Union, and this was sufficient to endear him 
to Jackson when the latter went to Philadelphia as Ten- 
nessee's first member of Congress. In 1801, President 
Jefferson appointed Livingston attorney for the United 
States for New York State. Later he was appointed by 
the Governor of New York to serve as Mayor of New 
York City, and in 1803 he laid the foundation stone for 
the present City Hall. During the celebration of that 
event he gave workmen who were present one hundred 
dollars to buy themselves drinks so that they might cele- 
brate more fittingly and lustily. In 1803 an epidemic of 
yellow fever ravaged New York City, and in due course 
Mayor Livingston fell a victim to the disease. During 
his illness, the treasury of the city was looted by his 
subordinates, and when he recovered he found that he 
owed the government fifty thousand dollars because of 
the thievery of his underlings. Livingston resigned his 
offices, sacrificed his property to square the debt, and 
went to New Orleans to begin life anew as a lawyer. 

It was Edward Livingston, gentle, brave, philosophical 
and forthright, who began to prepare the public mind of 
New Orleans for the defence of the city before General 
Jackson had arrived there. It is Livingston who stands 
side by side with Jackson throughout the immediate 
ordeal, and who will continue to serve the Commander 
and his country in more important pursuits in the years 
ahead. Jackson could not have found a better ally and a 
nobler friend than Livingston. History will lose sight 
of this man, who effaced himself for those whom he re- 
garded as his friends. 



General Jackson leads his party of five or six men into 
the city. The General's countenance is "full of stern de- 
cision and fearless energy," says one who saw him at 
this time. "His complexion is sallow and unhealthy; his 
hair is iron grey, and his body thin and emaciated, like 
one who had just recovered from a lingering and painful 
sickness. But the fierce glare of his bright and hawk-like 
eye betrayed a soul and spirit which triumphed over all 
infirmities of the body. His dress is simple and nearly 
threadbare. A small leather cap protects his head, and 
a short Spanish blue cloak his body, while his feet and 
legs are encased in high dragoon boots, long ignorant of 
polish or blackening, which reach to his knees." 

The General and his aides are escorted to an old Span- 
ish villa on the outskirts of the city, where incomparable 
French cooks, hearing that the famous American General, 
Andrew Jackson, is comi^ig, have prepared dainty viands 
to tempt him. The table groans under the weight of rich 
and savory food and the young aides do justice to it, while 
General Jackson pushes it all aside and requests a bowl 
of hominy. 

The breakfast over, the General consults his watch 
and 'tells his aides to follow him to the city, where Gov- 
ernor Claiborne is waiting to welcome the defender. The 
flood-gates of oratory are loosened, and many timid souls 
find courage for one moment in their lives to deliver 
themselves of their portion of bombast and patriotic ap- 
peal. General Jackson listens to all this in silence. He has 
not come to hear speeches but to whip the conquerors of 



Napoleon. He is plainly bored, but he must reply at least 
to the speech of Governor Claiborne. 

General Jackson is not an orator. His voice is pleasant, 
but unsuited for the platform. On this occasion the words 
come from him in husky staccato barks, which are some- 
what softened by the suggestion of a southern and Ten- 
nessee drawl. He declares he has come to protect the 
city and to drive the enemy into the sea, or perish in the 
effort. He calls on all citizens of all nationalities to bury 
their* differences and rally to the defence of the govern- 
ment. He indicates very plainly that his word is law and 
shall be respected and obeyed. Livingston translates his 
speech into the French and the people applaud, but they 
are awed. The man before them is passionately earnest. 
He appears to be so ill. They had expected to see Napoleon 
himself — or a huge robust General with golden epaulettes, 
a shining sword, white pantaloons, glistening boots, dia- 
dems sparkling on his breast, his hand pushed into his 
coat as he speaks. They behold a slender, gaunt, unshorn 
six-footer, his clothing wrinkled and frayed, weary from 
the Indian wars. 

General Jackson and his staff repair to one of the few 
brick buildings existing in New Orleans — io6 Royal 
Street, where a flag is unfurled from the third story 
window to indicate to the populace that this is the head- 
quarters of the defender. For ten minutes the General 
reposes on a couch. Then he is up, and, accompanied by 
Livingston, now the new aide-de-camp, he mounts his 
horse and reviews all the troops within the city. He sur- 
veys the ground and the topography of the country, the 
lakes roundabout and the shores of the Mississippi. He 



wants to know what kind of a city he means to defend. 

In the course of the gallop, Livingston invites the Gen- 
eral to his home for dinner, and the General accepts. 
Word flies on the wing that General Jackson is in town, 
and Mrs. Livingston, the gracious and gorgeous lady, 
has invited a bevy of Creole beauties to help her entertain 
the famous warrior. 

At the appointed hour the General arrives with Living- 
ston, and they are escorted into the great dining room. 
The New Orleans beauties are shocked at the appearance 
of Andrew Jackson. They had heard so much about him. 
One young lady nudges another and giggles : ''Where 
did the Livingstons ever come across this backwoods- 

General Jackson in such a company is the embodiment 
of grace and courtliness, much of which he learned from 
the slick, suave Burr. Still, good manners and a certain 
austere dignity are natural to him. He discusses neither 
the war, nor himself, but engages the young women in 
charming chatter about their city and themselves. When 
he leaves the table with Livingston all eyes follow his 
tall and erect figure. They love him. They do not believe 
the horrific tales they have heard about his cruelties and 
relentlessness as a warrior. General Jackson kill a man? 
Impossible ! How little the ladies know what a man may 
do when he is riding a purpose in a man's world. 

In the days that follow. General Jackson supervises 
alterations at Fort Philip, several miles up the river, which 
he believes can be rendered an impassable barrier to the 
enemy's ships. He inspects the borders of Lake Pont- 
chartrain and Lake Borgne, broad shallow bays which 



afford to the commerce of New Orleans a convenient 
back-gate. Jackson depends upon his gunboats in Lake 
Pontchartrain to prevent the enemy from reaching the 
city by that means. A narrow strait connects Lake Pont- 
chartrain with Lake Borgne in which there is a fortifica- 
tion. It is highly important that the gunboats in Pont- 
chartrain keep out the enemy. Two American war vessels 
lie at anchor in the river, the Carolina and the Louisiana. 
These are commanded by Commodore Patterson, who 
awaits the hour to strike. 

In Negril Bay is the British fleet of fifty armed ves- 
sels, among them the huge Tonnant, of eighty guns, one 
of Nelson's prizes at the battle of the Nile. The Tonnant 
now flies the pennant of Sir Admiral Cochrane, in com- 
mand of the formidable fleet. The decks of the ships in 
Negril Bay are crowded with British Red-coats. There 
are regiments who participated in the burning of Wash- 
ington, and in the futile assault upon Baltimore. There 
are regiments from the West Indies. In all, the British 
have assembled in American waters an imposing army, 
many of the troops having been led by the Duke of 
Wellington against the army of Napoleon. Their fifty 
ships carry a thousand guns. Their objective is the 
swampy city of New Orleans, their enemy is a straggling, 
ragged army, tired after the Indian wars, and in some 
sections definitely mutinous. 

Bad news for General Jackson. By December 15, the 
British have advanced into the lakes and are about to make 
a landing of their troops. Panic seizes New Orleans. The 



gun-boats have been captured. Lakes Pontchartrain and 
Borgne are at the mercy of the foe. 

General Jackson hurries to the city and a proclama- 
tion is prepared by Livingston, at the dictation of Jack- 
son, to the people of Nev^ Orleans. He w^arns all against 
any act of treason or sedition in the emergency and bids 
the populace to be calm. The next day General Jackson 
declares the city to be under martial law^. Under the 
terms of this act, all able-bodied men are inducted into 
the military service, the aged and infirm are made to per- 
form police duty in the city, the judges close their courts 
and the jails are emptied of prisoners into v^hose hands 
muskets are thrust. 

On December 23, nev^s reaches Jackson that the British 
have landed a force nine miles below^ the city and intend 
to camp there for the night. The General drawls himself 
up to his full height. His eyes blaze w^ith a new^ light 
of fire, and his clenched fist bangs the table. 

''By God Almighty," he declares, ''they shall not sleep 
on our soil." 

He sips a glass of w^ine and addresses- his aides : "Gen- 
tlemen, the British are below^, we must fight them to- 
night." Jackson sets his v^^ar machinery into motion w^ith- 
out a moment's delay. His orders aref dispatched to his 
commanders. Commodore Patterson is ordered to pre- 
pare the Carolina for v^eighing anchor and dropping dow^n 
the river. It is mid-afternoon. Jackson sits dow^n to his 
dinner of half a cup of coffee and a small bow^l of rice. 
Then he retires to his room and stretches himself out 
on his couch. He sleeps for an hour and a quarter. It 



is the last sleep the General will enjoy for five days and 
five nights. He mounts his horse and departs for the 
lower end of the city where stands Fort St. Charles. The 
General takes his stand before the gates of the fort and 
watches his regiments as they sweep past him. To each 
commander he salutes, and now and then he addresses 
cheering words to the men in the ranks — the backwoods- 
men, — who are going to fight trained soldiers of His 
Majesty's government. "Give it to the Red-coats," says 
Jackson. "Give it to them good!" 

Two thousand one hundred and thirty-one American 
troops, more than half of whom have never been in action, 
swing past their General to the tune of "Yankee Doodle." 
The women in the city are alarmed. Many of them carry 
daggers in their bosoms and beneath the folds of their 
hoop skirts. It has been rumored that a British com- 
mander has promised his soldiers "Beauty and Booty" 
when they invest and sack the city. "Tell the ladies," says 
Jackson to a civilian, "not to be uneasy. Not one British 
soldier shall enter the city as an enemy unless over my 
dead body." 

"I will smash the Red-coats," he tells Livingston, who 
is mounted by his side, "so help me God." 

General Jackson now gallops with furious pace to the 
head of his army. There is scarcely a moment when he is 
not in the line of fire. He asks no soldier to risk his life 
without also risking his own. He plays the old backwoods 
strategy of cornering his enemy and then whipping him 
unmercifully while he is in the trap. The Carolina is to 
pull in close to the shore near the enemy's camp, give 



the signal for the attack and then pour broadsides of 
grape and round shot into their midst, while the infantry 
and cavalry get into action. 

It is dusk. The Carolina booms the signal for the at- 
tack. Jackson waits ten minutes that seem like ten years 
before giving the command to advance. He wants to 
focus the attention of the enemy upon the Carolina. Then 
the battle is on and continues for one hour and a half. 
The Americans give good account "of themselves, partic- 
ularly General Coffee's sharpshooters, who are accus- 
tomed to night warfare with the Indians. The British 
losses are forty-six killed, one hundred and sixty-seven 
wounded, and sixty-four prisoners and deserters. Jack- 
son's losses are twenty-four killed, one hundred and fif- 
teen wounded, and seventy-four .prisoners. 

The Americans take refuge for the night behind the 
old Roderiguez Canal, which is partly filled up and grown 
over with grass. Shovels, and picks and wheelbarrows are 
hastily sent for. The soldiers are going to dig trenches 
right here at the delta of the Mississippi. ''We will plant 
our stakes here," declares Jackson, ''and not abandon 
them until we drive the damned rascals into the river or 
the swamp." 

But the soldiers have not dug more than three feet 
before they strike water. Jackson is advised to construct 
a ridge of cotton bales. No sooner said than done. Cotton 
rolls out of the warehouses at New Orleans and soon a 
fortification is raised. One of the owners of the bales 
rushes up to General Jackson, protesting it is his property 
which has been confiscated. General Jackson seizes a mus- 
ket and places it in the soft palms of the merchant. "Since 



this is your property, sir, .it is your business to defend it. 
Get into the ranks." 


What is happening at Ghent, where British and Amer- 
ican plenipotentiaries have been discussing terms of peace? 
They have signed a treaty. Earl Bathurst, of the Foreign 
Office, writes to the Lord Mayor of London, on Decem- 
ber 26 : "My Lord : I have the honor to acquaint your 
Lordship that Mr. A. S. Baker (attache of the British 
legation at Washington and secretary of the British com- 
missioners at Ghent) has arrived at this office this morn- 
ing from Ghent, with the Intelligence that a Treaty of 
Peace was signed between His Majesty and the United 
States of America by the respective Plenipotentiaries at 
that place on the 24th inst. It is the same time my duty 
to acquaint your Lordship that it is understood by the 
Treaty that hostilities will cease as soon as it shall have 
been ratified by the President of the United States as 
well as by the Prince Regent in the name and in behalf 
of His Majesty." 

News of the peace travels apace in Great Britain and 
in Paris. In the latter city the theaters resound with the 
cries, **God save the Americans." In Washington, Presi- 
dent Madison knows nothing of what has been done across 
the sea. His wife, the delightful Dolly, entertains at a 
large Christmas party. There is no Atlantic cable and it 
will be some time before official Washington knows that 
the war has ended. It will be even longer before General 
Jackson hears of it at New Orleans. 

There is much hilarity in the American camp. General 



Jackson's Christmas dinner is a bowl of porridge and a 
cup of black coffee. In the British camp, where gloom has 
prevailed since their reverses, there is joy now with the 
arrival of Major General Sir Edward Pakenham, and 
Major General Samuel Gibbs, his second in command. 
General Pakenham is a brother-in-law of the Duke of 
Wellington. He has won high and rapid distinction for 
his valor and discretion on the field of battle against the 
armies of Napoleon. The Duke thinks highly of him. He 
is a North of Irelander, like the General whorn he has 
come to face. 

General Pakenham is given great quantities of misin- 
formation concerning the strength of Jackson's army. 
He is led to believe that there is nothing whatsoever to 
prevent him from walking into New Orleans and help- 
ing himself — then up the Mississippi and victory, victory 
everywhere. He refuses to take into account the reverses 
which the British have thus far suffered. Pakenham's 
great optimism is his undoing. Jackson's faith sobers 
him. The American General appears to take great chances, 
but the fact is, he takes none until he is certain, or as 
certain as it is humanly possible to be, of victory, and 
that is not exactly taking a gambler's chance. 

Pakenham resolves first to blow the Carolina out of 
the water. 

No sooner said than done. One of Jackson's mainstays, 
the intrepid Carolina, is blown to splinters. Huge guns, 
placed by the British on the levee during the night, do 
their work with the dawn of December 2y. The British 
next assault the American positions, and the result is 
fifty Red-coats killed and wounded. The American losses 



are nine killed and eight wounded. Still, the legisla- 
ture and many citizens of New Orleans are panic stricken! 
Their first thought is to save the city, while the first- 
thought of General Jackson is to defeat the British, even 
at the sacrifice of the city. He has made up his mind 
that if he must retreat before the British troops, he will 
himself burn the city, leaving not one brick on top of 
another, so that if the British should arrive they will have 
a hot reception, and an empty victory. 

General Jackson has been informed that the legislature 
are of the opinion that the city cannot be saved and are 
about to give up the country to the enemy. Governor 
Claiborne, who has never been on friendly terms with 
the legislature, is ordered by Jackson to make a strict 
inquiry into the matter, and, if he finds it is true, to ''Blow 
them up." 

Claiborne, receiving this message, proceeds to close the 
doors of the Capitol to the law-makers. They are enraged, 
and one and all they look upon Jackson as a desperado 
and regret his coming. He has placed the city under 
martial law, and now he dares to prevent the legislature 
from meeting. 


From January i to the night of January 7, the op- 
posing armies engage in intermittent battles and sorties. 
British losses invariably are higher than those of the 
Americans, but this is partly due to the fact that British 
commanders are certain of ultimate victory, and, as their 
army is far larger than the American force, they expose 
their troops recklessly to the unerring fire of the Amer- 



icans. General Jackson is constantly passing among his 
men, urging them to take no unnecessary risk with their 
lives, and to conserve their ammunition until they are 
virtually certain of bringing down a Red-coat. 

On January 4, two thousand two hundred and fifty 
Kentuckians arrive. They will be commanded by General 
John Adair. But observe their condition ; they are so 
ragged that as they march they have to hold their gar- 
ments to cover their nakedness. Only one man in three 
is equipped with arms. They had expected to receive 
clothing, supplies and muskets when they reached New 
Orleans, but Jackson has none to give them. The legisla- 
ture, however, which had been excluded from its cham- 
bers only for several days, appropriates funds to provide 
the men with clothing, mattresses and blankets. 

Jackson finds two hundred muskets in the city, and 
these he gives to as many Kentuckians and dispatches 
them to the West bank of the river. For his own lines, he 
has three thousand two hundred men against a trained 
and disciplined army which he supposes numbers twelve 
thousand troops. Actually, General Pakenham commands 
seven thousand three hundred men — more than two to 

It is January 8, 181 5. It is one o'clock in the morning. 
General Jackson lies on the couch on the top floor of his 
headquarters. Several of his aides sleep upon the floor. 
The Commander does not know how tired he really is. 
A few minutes after one, Jackson looks at his watch. 
"Gentlemen," he calls to his sleeping aides, 'Vise. We 



have slept enough. The enemy will be upon us in a few 
minutes." General Jackson buckles on his sword and tucks 
his pistols into his coat-tails. He tosses a cape around his 
shoulders, dons his leather hat and strides forth. Before 
four o'clock the British are up and busy. 

It is six o'clock. The fog partly lifts. The Americans 
strain their eyes for a sight of the enemy. They are 
coming in two columns, led by General Gibbs. They march 
within range of General Carroll's Tennesseeans with 
small arms, the rifles; behind these are the Kentuckians, 
four lines of sharpshooters. The rifles rake the British. 
The gaps are so great in the English columns that the 
rear troops run pell-mell to fill them. 

The Red-coats under Gibbs falter in face of the hellish 
fire. General Pakenham, on his mount, dashes headlong 
into the furnace, crying "For shame" at his troops who 
seem to be in retreat. A bullet crashes through his arm, 
and it dangles at his right side. His horse is shot from 
under him. The column reforms and again marches into 
the American fire. Musket balls, cannons, rifles and grape- 
shot level their ranks even with the plain. Red-coats pitch 
headlong into the ditch before the American breastworks. 
A volley of grape-shot crashes into the midst of Red- 
coats among whom Pakenham is the central figure, and 
the gallant British Commander falls dead. A few moments 
later General Gibbs, second in command, is killed, and 
next General Keane is wounded in the neck and thigh. 
Still, the British troops come on and five hundred and 
forty- four of their number are slaughtered within a hun- 
dred yards of the American lines. 

The Red-coats are demoralized. They appear to be fas- 



cinated by the deadly aim of the Americans, by the awful 
slaughter, and walk straight into it, like a crazed horse 
dashing into roaring flames. The actual battle has lasted 
only twenty-five minutes, but the roar of guns from each 
side is heard for a much longer time. During the entire 
battle General Jackson has stood near the center of the 
scene, on a slight elevation. As the advancing columns 
of the foe approached he walked among the troops say- 
ing now and then : "Give it to them, boys. Let us finish 
the business this day." 

After the slaughter, and as the British retreat across the 
plains, several subordinate officers beg the General to per- 
mit them to pursue the foe, but he refuses. ''No," he says, 
"the lives of my men are of value to their country, and 
much too dear to their families to be hazarded where 
necessity does not require it." The British losses for this 
day are seven hundred killed, fourteen hundred wounded, 
and five hundred prisoners. Jackson's losses are eight 
killed, thirteen wounded and no prisoners. 

On the West bank of the river, however, the Ameri- 
cans suffered a serious reverse. The British Colonel, 
Thornton, gained an advantage over General Morgan's 
Kentuckians, whom Jackson accused of fleeing in disorder 
before the enemy. The British losses had been so great, 
however, that General Lambert, now in supreme command 
of the British forces, decided it might be too costly to hold 
the West bank if Jackson should decide to defend it with 
reinforcements from the East bank, and he abandoned the 
position. Casualties among the British command were 
especially high. Three major generals, eight colonels and 



lieutenant colonels, six majors, eighteen captains and 
fifty- four subalterns were among the killed. 


On February 4 the news of General Jackson's victory 
reaches Washington. The Capital, from the President 
down to the humblest citizen, is wild with joy. None had 
expected a victory, least of all at New Orleans. While 
Washington is still celebrating Jackson's decisive triumph, 
official word comes on February 14 of the peace that had 
been signed at Ghent on December 24. All knew then that 
Jackson had fought a vain battle two weeks after peace 
had actually been declared, and that even if the British had 
captured New Orleans they would have been obliged to 
restore the city to the Americans and depart. But this 
does not prevent the nation from paying him its tribute. 
The states shower him with their resolutions and gifts. 
Congress orders a gold medal to be struck in his honor, 
and citizens of all ranks acclaim him. 

There is but one hero in the United States. He is 
Andrew Jackson. His name is on every tongue, whether 
wagging in the parlors or in the taverns. They all know, 
or think they know, the quality of their hero. 

President Madison at once dispatches a courier to New 
Orleans with a message to Jackson informing him of the 
peace. In nineteen days the messenger will arrive with the 


Chapter XIX 

GENERAL JACKSON now prepares to march his 
army back to the city of New Orleans, He has oc- 
cupied the camp of the enemy, who seem to have departed. 
Ahhough a total of only fifty-six men in Jackson's armies 
have been killed in battle, the thirty days following Janu- 
ary eighth witnessed the death of about five hundred 
American soldiers, who fell victims to influenza, swamp 
fevers and dysentery. The first act of Jackson after the 
great victory is to address a letter to the Abbe Dubourg, 
head of the Roman Catholic clergy in Louisiana, urging 
the Abbe to appoint a day of public thanksgiving ''to be 
performed in the cathedral, in token of the great assist- 
ance we have received from the Ruler of all events, and of 
our humble sense of it." 

The Abbe promptly names January 23 for the perform- 
ance of the Te Deum in the cathedral. Church bells 
throughout the city on that day proclaim the tidings of 
the triumph, and a gorgeous pageant is staged in honor of 
the defender. A triumphal arch is built, and, as General 
Jackson passes under it, the women of New Orleans and 
many from other states, strew his path with flowers. A 



crown of laurel is presented to the General, who accepts it 
with a pretty speech which he addresses to the Abbe. 

*T receive with gratitude and pleasure the symbolical 
crown which piety has prepared," says Jackson, with a 
grand and courtly bow. 'T receive it in the name of the 
brave men who have so effectually seconded my exertion 
for the preservation of their country — they well deserve 
the laurels which their country will bestow." 

On the occasion of these services at the cathedral, Gen- 
eral Jackson still did not know that peace had been de- 

On the day before he repaired to the church to receive 
the crown of laurel 'Svhich piety had prepared," he signed 
the death warrants of six Tennessee militiamen who were 
found guilty by a military court of mxUtiny at Fort Jack- 
son on September 19-20, 18 14. These men had been 
called out by Governor Blount to reinforce Jackson at 
New Orleans, and when they reached Fort Jackson they 
were told by their officers that they could not legally be 
made to serve longer than three months. Hence, when 
that period ended they, with nearly two hundred others, 
proceeded to raid the stores in the vicinity for food to last 
them on their homeward journey. Records of the trial all 
tend to show that the men honestly believed they were 
entitled to depart at the expiration of three months' serv- 
ice. Those who escaped the death penalty were punished in 
various ways, and in several cases swords were broken 
over the heads of the officers Vv^ho were found guilty of 
aiding and abetting the mutiny. 

Jackson left the matter of the trial to the military 
tribunal which, for the most part, comprised officers sta- 



tioned at Fort Jackson where the mutiny occurred. In 
December the men had been found guilty, but Jackson 
was too busy with the defence of New Orleans to give con- 
sideration to the offenders. Despite the fact that on Janu- 
ary 19 he declared his belief that Louisiana was no longer 
in peril, three days later he could sign the death warrant 
of six American soldiers who appear to have been mistaken 
in their conception of their term of service. 

It is February 21. The place is Mobile. Although only a 
little more than a week ago the British made a second at- 
tack upon Fort Bowyer, now there are rumors of peace. 
Everyone believes the war is over. Everyone except 
General Jackson, who is determined that nothing shall 
be taken for granted, least of all the question of peace. 

So on this day, February 21, he has six coffins placed 
in a row and each of the six victims, among whom is a 
Baptist preacher and the father of nine children, is made 
to kneel on his box blind-folded. General Jackson has or- 
dered his troops drawn up in a circle so they might witness 
the spectacle. Citizens are not discouraged from partici- 
pating as witnesses. A firing squad ends the miseries of 
these men, all of whom wrote letters to their families pro- 
testing their innocence. 

The public outside of Mobile pays no attention whatso- 
ever to these executions. Even the newspapers of Wash- 
ington contain no reference to them. Washington and the 
East, as well as the South and West, is too joyful in cele- 
brating Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans and 
the conqueror of the British army, to note General Jack- 



son, the executioner of six misguided American soldiers. 
It is certain that if General Jackson held in his hands on 
that bloody day the document certifying that peace had 
been declared he would not have spared the lives of those 
hapless men from his own state. He himself had suffered 
too much from mutinous troops to be merciful now. He 
does not even bother to inform himself as to how the con- 
demned men arrived at the idea that they had enlisted only 
for three months, instead of for six months. If he had 
conducted such an investigation he might possibly have 
discovered that the misunderstanding was between Gov- 
ernor Blount, who called out the levy, and the government 
at Washington, who first sanctioned it. 

This matter will not be referred to again until the 
Presidential campaign of 1828, and then Jackson's en- 
emies will use the ghosts of these men to plague him as 
"a. murderer." But General Jackson in that day will de- 
fend his conduct with letters and statements that seem to 
misstate the case. Congress will order an inquiry, and 
Congress will whitewash the hero of New Orleans. It is 
one of the blackest blots that thus far has stained his 

After the executions at Mobile, General Jackson gallops 
off to New Orleans, where he meets Livingston, who has 
recently returned, February 19, from a visit to the British 
fleet with the news of the peace. Admiral Cochrane, it 
appears, has received this intelligence in advance of the 
Americans on land. The report spreads rapidly and there 
naturally is great joy and celebration in the city. Jackson 



tries his utmost to dampen this gladness. His position is, 
there is no peace, and shall be none, until he has been 
officially informed by the government. 

'The Louisiana Gazette," however, prints a paragraph 
to the effect that "a flag has just arrived from Admiral 
Cochrane to General Jackson, officially announcing the 
conclusion of peace at Ghent between the United States 
and Great Britain, and virtually requesting a suspension of 
arms." When Jackson's eye scans this paragraph he im- 
mediately flies into a tantrum. Of course Cochrane has 
sent him no flag, but the Red-coats already are reliably 
informed of the peace. In fact, Livingstone has notified 
Jackson that the British have officially received the news. 

But this did not deter the Commanding General from 
dispatching a severe rebuke to the editor of the offending 
newspaper, denying that peace exists and concluding with 
the warning: ''Henceforward, it is expected that no pub- 
lication of the nature of that herein alluded to and cen- 
sured will appear in any paper of the city, unless the 
editor shall have previously ascertained its correctness, and 
gained permission for its insertion from the proper 

All of which means, of course, that Jackson has taken it 
upon himself to censor the press and has suspended the 
constitutional guarantees on the plea of an emergency 
which he has officially stated he does not believe now 
exists. There is not a man in the country who has pro- 
tested louder than Jackson against any encroachment upon 
the people's liberty. Likewise, there is not another man in 
the new republic who would dare affront individual and 
collective freedom as Andrew Jackson has done. And here 



is a devout Democrat; a hater of tyrants; a lover of 
liberty! Philosophy, consistency are not in this man. 

The editor growls loudly under his muzzle, and the 
French section of the community is quite disturbed by 
Jackson's high-handedness. They hit upon the scheme of 
appealing to the French consul, M. Toussard, for French 
citizenship papers in order that they might have protection 
from the General's wrath should they care to speak their 
minds freely. The Consul issues the papers and hoists the 
French flag over his Consulate. 

General Jackson meets this situation immediately by 
ordering the Consul and all Frenchmen who are not citi- 
zens of the United States to leave the city within three 
days, and not return within one hundred and twenty 
miles of the city until the ratification of the treaty of 
peace has been officially published. Moreover, the General 
scans the voting register of the last election to ascertain 
who are citizens and who are not. 

This is too much for Frenchmen in Louisiana, who have 
been loyal to the United States and who fought in Jack- 
son's army, to stomach. One of their number writes an 
indignant letter to the editor, protesting the banishment of 
Frenchmen from New Orleans, and concluding with the 
remark: 'Tt is high time the laws should resume their 
empire ; that the citizens of the state should return to the 
full enjoyment of their rights ; that, in acknowledging that 
we are indebted to General Jackson for the preservation 
of our city and the defeat of the British, we do not feel 
much inclined, through gratitude, to sacrifice any of our 
privileges, and, less than any other, that of expressing our 
opinion of the acts of his administration." 



Here was an open challenge. The letter is duly pub- 
lished in the ^'Gazette" and is signed by ''A Citizen of 
Louisiana of French Origin." 

Here was a choice morsel for General Jackson to chew. 
He promptly sends for the editor and demands the name of 
the contributor. That individual proves to be Louis Louail- 
lier, a citizen of the United States, member of the legisla- 
ture, and a man of considerable fortune, who had assisted 
Livingston in preparing the public mind for the defence of 
New Orleans and helped to raise funds to feed and clothe 
Jackson's hungry and ragged troops. All of this has no 
weight with Jackson. On Sunday, March 5, he orders the 
arrest of Louaillier, who is thrown into prison. The next 
day the courier from President Madison arrives at Jack- 
son^s headquarters with official word of the peace, but he 
has neglected to bring the proper document. Jackson now 
knows that the war is over, but he proceeds with the court- 
martial of Louaillier on the same day that he receives 
word the war is ended. 

On the day that Louaillier was arrested, his attorney, 
who witnessed the incident, rushed to the home of Fed- 
eral Judge Dominick A. Hall. The Judge issued a writ of 
habeas corpus for the temporary release of the legislator. 
Jackson seized the original writ and gave the court offi- 
cer who served it upon him a certified copy of the docu- 
ment. He then proceeds to send his soldiers to arrest 
Judge Hall, of the District Court of the United States, 
accusing him of "aiding and abetting and exciting mutiny 
within my camp." 

The General's order is promptly obeyed and Sunday 



night the Federal Judge is locked up in the barracks with 
Louaillier. A few days later, assured that the war is over, 
General Jackson disbands the militia. Meanwhile the 
courtmartial acquits LouailHer of all charges except one, 
illegal and improper conduct, and for want of jurisdiction 
frees him of that. But Jackson disapproves of the verdict 
and keeps the legislator in prison until March 13, when he 
receives the official notification that the United States has 
ratified the Ghent Treaty. 


Meanwhile, General Jackson, after keeping the Judge 
a prisoner for a week, decides to banish him from the city, 
and Judge Hall is escorted by soldiers four miles outside 
the city limits and is forbidden to return until the official 
peace has been published at the pleasure of Andrew Jack- 

On March 22, Judge Hall, having crept back to his 
court, first making sure that he does not encounter the 
General or his soldiers on the way, orders Jackson to show 
cause why an attachment should not issue against him for 
contempt of court in disobeying the writ of habeas corpus 
and imprisoning the Judge who issued it. On March 31, 
Andrew Jackson, in mufti, enters Judge Hall's court, fol- 
lowed by a disorderly crowd of his admirers. His follow- 
ers set up a fearful racket, jeering the Judge and cheer- 
ing for Jackson. The Judge is plainly frightened. He 
believes he is about to be mobbed for daring to hale be- 
fore him the defender of New Orleans. 

General Jackson mounts a chair and addresses his root- 



ers. He admonishes them to conduct themselves with 
decency and decorum, and to "show due respect to the 
constitutional authorities." As if he respects them! 

'There is no danger here," he says, addressing the 
court. "There shall be none ; the same arm that protected 
from outrage this city against the invaders of the coun- 
try will shield and protect this court, or perish in the 
effort." The Judge breathes easier now, for there is fire in 
the General's eyes and he means what he is saying. 

So the court feels safe in fining General Jackson one 
thousand dollars for contempt of court. His followers be- 
lieve he has won another signal victory and they carry him 
from the shrine of justice on their shoulders and bear 
him through the streets. Presently a fine span of horses, 
drawing a pretty carriage in which sits a lady at ease, on 
her way to market, perhaps, come dashing down the street 
toward the crowd. The rabble stop the team, unhitch the 
horses and shoo them off, and bid the fair lady to emerge 
and proceed to her destination afoot. General Jackson, 
though he protests, is placed inside the carriage and his 
adherents draw him through the city streets in triumph. 
Huzzahs for Jackson resound through the city and soon 
a great throng is following the absurd spectacle, while 
the dignified and courtly General is striving to disengage 
himself from it. 

The General sends Judge Hall a check for the fine under 
protest. In 1844 Congress will pass a bill remitting this 
fine with interest, and a check for two thousand seven 
hundred dollars will be sent to the Hermit at the Her- 
mitage with due apologies and greetings. 




The war is over. The United States did not get Canada, 
but it did get the ''Star Spangled Banner." The British 
got neither Beauty nor Booty anywhere. Incidentally, they 
discovered that a half-starved, ragged army of backwoods- 
men are pretty good fighters when led by a man like 
Andrew Jackson, who never knew the sweet sensation of 
taking a good licking. In due course, Mrs. Jackson ar- 
rives at New Orleans to see the city that her husband 
has so gloriously defended. She is fat and dumpy now, and 
Mrs. Livingston tries her best to fit the Tennessee lady in 
clothes of the prevailing fashion, but, as it is impossible to 
discover just where is Mrs. Jackson's waist line, the task 
is abandoned. 

In May, the tall man and his wife depart for home. 
They are given a reception, the like of which no city or 
state ever gave a citizen of the republic up to that time. 


Chapter XX 

GENERAL JACKSON enjoys the change from the 
battlefield to the peace of Hermitage, the com- 
panionship of Rachel and her good cooking ; the mischief 
of his adopted son, Andrew, and the renewing of friendly 
ties in Nashville. 

But it seems that the old freedom in which he loved to 
go about the town and visit its taverns is gone. Every- 
where he is regarded with awful respect, for he is the con- 
queror of a mighty foe, and his acquaintances no longer 
feel free to hail him with the old frontier familiarity. 

The General does the best he can to dispel the spirit of 
awe in which he is held by his neighbors, but he fails, and 
gradually he comes to realize that henceforth he is a public 
man and must sacrifice many private privileges. 

There is no swagger about Andrew Jackson. He wears 
the same size hat. The plaudits of the people are not needed 
to give him a high opinion of himself. They merely con- 
firm what he has known all along with respect to his power 
over men and his ability to bend them to his will, whether 
in war or in peace. In the old days his playmates said 
they could throw him, but '*he would never stay throwed." 
There are many who have discovered the truth of those 



boy statements made when Jackson was a gangling youth 
called "Sandy Andy." 

Jackson is not clever, nor shrewd, nor subtle. He is un- 
learned in all the artifices which most men trade in to gain 
their point and position in the world. He would be most 
surprised, and perhaps would reach for his pistols, if one 
were to suggest that his private or public conduct had not 
been moral, according to the usual standards. 

In the cool Autumn Jackson mounts his horse and pro- 
ceeds by easy stages to Washington. Everywhere along the 
route he is feted by officials and applauded by the people. 
At Lynchburg, Virginia, he is tendered a banquet at which 
the venerable Thomas Jefferson, now seventy-two years 
old, appears and offers a toast to the hero. The General 
replies by raising his cup and offering a toast to James 
Monroe, recently Secretary of War, now Secretary of 
State, a Virginian, friend of Jefferson's and a candidate 
for the Presidency. For these reasons the General's compli- 
ment to Monroe is significant. 

At Washington, General Jackson is the guest of Presi- 
dent Madison at the White House, at the homes of Cab- 
inet Ministers and many private establishments. Dolly 
Madison does herself proud in preparing a gorgeous feast 
at the Executive Mansion for the hero, and she invites the 
most eminent and exclusive society of the Capital to at- 
tend. Jackson is the darling of the nation. His giant popu- 
larity is in the first flush of its youth. At Washington he 
consults with the President on the matter of placing the 
army on a peace footing of ten thousand troops. Jackson 
will continue to hold his post as Major General of the 
Southern Division of the army. 



Early in 1816 he is back in Tennessee. He now de- 
votes himself principally to his personal affairs, managing 
his estate, looking after the crops and the cattle, and the 
welfare of his slaves. He builds a church for Rachel in 
the garden of the Hermitage. This little edifice, which 
will seat only about fifty persons (Mrs. Jackson has almost 
that many relatives in the community), is duly incor- 
porated into the Presbytery, through the General's influ- 
ence, and a minister is supplied. Rachel pleads with Jack- 
son to join the church and "give his heart to the Lord," 
but the General decides to hold off. Rachel is very sad, but 
her sorrow is neutralized by the possession of her own 
church, which is a wonderful toy and solace to her. 

The election of 1816 arrives. There are only two candi- 
dates, James Monroe, of Virginia, and William H. Craw- 
ford, of Georgia. Monroe is chosen over Crawford who, 
actually, is not Monroe's competitor in this election, but is 
merely taking his place in line for the succession. General 
Jackson, who had supported Monroe's cause in 1808 over 
Madison, takes no prominent part in the election of 181 6. 
Instead, he contents himself with writing numerous let- 
ters to the President-elect, lecturing and advising him on 
the complexion of his Cabinet. 

It is Monroe's notion to name Jackson Secretary of 
War, and when this bid reaches the Tennesseean he 
promptly declines it. His candidate is Colonel William 
Drayton, of South Carolina, a Federalist, whom Jackson 
does not know and has never seen. The General's letter to 
Monroe, urging the appointment of Drayton, is written 



by Major Lewis, Jackson's old quarter-master, who is 
beginning to place firm stakes for Jackson as a future 
Presidential candidate. Monroe is thus urged to name 
Drayton as a gesture of reconciliation between Federalists 
and Republicans. Later on Jackson's letter will be made to 
serve his cause by showing that as early as 1816 he held 
out the olive branch to the Federalists. It will be used as a 
bid for their support in 1828. 

Really, from this time onward, the political fortunes of 
Andrew Jackson are in the hands of one of the most 
astute, cautious and intelligent Presidential-makers that 
the country will ever know. No man need fear his destiny 
when placed in the hands of Major William B. Lewis. 
Even Jackson is not yet fully aware that he is being 
molded for the Presidency. He has already said the idea 
is ridiculous, that, even were it possible, he would still 
prefer the private life with Rachel and his cronies. The 
General is sincere in this. He loves power but he is not 
willing to have political balls bounced on his nose, like a 
trained seal, to attain it. Moreover, Jackson honestly does 
not think he is competent to be President. He has a very 
exalted idea of that high office, and if he has fought with 
some of its occupants he still has reverence for the place. 

The General turns his thoughts for the present to quiet 
and moral speculation. His nephew, Andrew Jackson Don- 
elson, is a cadet at West Point, having won his appoint- 
ment through the influence of his uncle. The General 
thinks a little advice on intimate matters to the youth 
might not be amiss. He dates his letter February 24, 18 17. 

"My Dear Andrew : You are now entered on the theatre 



of the world amongsht Strangers, where it behoves you to 
be guarded at all points. In your intercourse with the world 
you ought to be courteous to all, but make confidents of 
few, a young mind is too apt, to form opinions on 
speecious shows, and polite attention by others and to be- 
stow confidence, before it has had proofs of it being well 
founded, when often, very often, they will be deceived, 
and when too late find to their Sorrow and regret that 
those specious shows of profered friendship, are merely 
to obtain confidence of better to deceive, you therefore 
must be careful on forming new acquaintances, how and 
where you repose confidence. . . . 

*'I do not mean that you should shut yourself up from 
the world, or deprive yourself from proper relaxation or 
innocent amusement but only, that you should alone inter- 
mix, with the better class of society, whose charectors are 
well established for their virtue, and upright conduct. 
Amongsht, the virtuous females, you ought to cultivate 
an acquaintance, and shun the intercourse of the others 
as you would the society of the viper or base charector — it 
is an intercourse with the latter discription, that engenders 
corruption, and contaminates the morals, and fits the 
young mind for any act of unguarded baseness, when 
on the other hand, the society of the virtuous female, 
enobles the mind, cultivates your manners, and prepares 
the mind for the achievement of every thing great, virtu- 
ous and honourable, and shrinks from everything base or 

Jackson's ideas of personal purity and morality are not 
an acquisition of advancing years. His sex life has been 



singularly chaste, and he simply will not tolerate the pres- 
ence of anyone loose in his relations with women. 


But this meditative excursion into homespun philosophy 
does not long serve to hold the General's attention; he 
will direct his thought to more imperative matters and 
dispatch them in his wonted fashion. In his various mili- 
tary enterprises, Jackson has found plenty of reason to be 
annoyed by orders flying over his head to his subordinates 
in the field. Sometimes the War Department itself has 
provoked him by indulging in this practice, but the General 
was always too busy and too far from Washington to 
trace the offenders and rebuke them. As there are now no 
wars to be fought, he loses no time in straightening out 
this matter. 

On April 22, 181 7, he sends an order from Nashville 
to his department in the South admonishing his sub- 
ordinates to ignore any orders from the War Department 
in the future unless countersigned by himself. Thus Jack- 
son elevates his authority above that of the War Depart- 
ment, and even of the President of the United States, who 
is the Commander-in-Chief. This order astounds Wash- 
ington. It excites the private criticism of Brigadier Gen- 
eral Winfield Scott, who views Jackson's attitude as en- 
couraging mutiny and insubordination. As usual, there is 
a busybody who communicates Scott's remarks to Jack- 
son. All the tiger blood of Old Hickory is aroused once 

He nurses this grievance against Scott for some months, 
and when he can no longer endure his anger he gives vent 



to it by dispatching an insulting letter to Scott, denounces 
him for his ''tinsel rhetoric," excoriates "the inter- 
meddling pimps and spies of the War Department who are 
in the garb of gentlemen," and concludes by challenging 
General Scott to a duel. Scott, in his letter which is at once 
witty and caustic, declines Jackson's invitation to a duel 
on religious and patriotic grounds. The incident blows 
over, and John C. Calhoun, who has become Secretary of 
War, upholds Jackson because he can not do otherwise; 
but Calhoun tells Jackson in a letter that, should a na- 
tional emergency arise, the War Department might pos- 
sibly have to be so bold as to issue orders to its command- 
ing generals. Thus Jackson has scored another personal 
triumph. The matter does not set well with Secretary 
Calhoun, who has a considerable opinion of his own im- 
portance. Later on Calhoun will even up the matter of 
being humbled by General Jackson, but the Secretary of 
War will pay for it with his political hide. 

Spain's possession of Florida for many years has been 
a sore point with the United States, particularly to the 
expansionists, among whom is Jackson. But Jackson 
despises the Spaniards on general principles. They are not 
Americans, yet they reside on the American continent. 
That is enough for Jackson. Moreover, when Spain pos- 
sessed Mississippi the people of Tennessee were constantly 
at swords' points with the Spanish authorities over the 
question of shipping rights on the Mississippi River, a 
privilege that Spain was inclined to deny to the people of 



Following Jackson's wars with the Creek Indians in 
Alabama, many of the Red-sticks fled to Florida for pro- 
tection of a foreign power; and during the War of 1812 
they became the pawns of British commanders, who re- 
cruited many of them into their own ranks. Jackson never 
forgot this fact, and he would forgive neither the British 
nor the Indians. These Indians, who now took the name 
of Seminole, harbored the belief that with the signing of 
the peace treaty between the United States and England 
their lands, taken from them by Jackson in 1814, would 
be restored to them. As a result, there was constant fric- 
tion between the Whites and the Reds on the Florida bor- 
der throughout 1816-17-18. The Spanish authorities were 
not disposed to move in suppressing these disorders, and it 
was generally believed that there still were British agents 
in Florida inciting the Seminoles to war against the United 

Another factor that was irritating to the southern whites 
was that Florida became a haven and a refuge for run- 
away slaves, particularly from the neighboring state, 
Georgia. These slave owners were unable to pursue and 
bring back their chattels from Spanish territory. Besides, 
quite a number of Americans, among them Major John H. 
Eaton, General Jackson's neighbor, relative and biog- 
rapher, had invested in Florida lands against the day 
when the territory would pass from Spain into the Union. 
These were a few of the economic circumstances that led to 
the crushing of the Seminoles, the ruthless treatment of a 
foreign power, however impotent was its rule on the 
American continent, and the ultimate forced cession, which 
cannot be called conquest, because Florida was purchased. 



In 1 817, Florida was filled with adventurers, free-booters 
and pirates, especially on the East coast. 

General E. P. Gaines had been left in command of 
Jackson's district nearest the Seminoles, and he was in- 
structed by the War Department to preserve peace on the 
Florida-Georgia boundary, but that he should not pursue 
the Indians into Spanish Florida unless in extreme cir- 
cumstances. There had been killings on each side — first a 
few Indians then a few whites. Near Fort Scott in Georgia 
there was an Indian village called Fowlton. The Chief of 
this village of forty-five Seminole warriors was embit- 
tered against the United States. He had made threats. 
On November 21, 181 7, General Gaines dispatched two 
hundred and fifty men to Fowlton to bring the Chief and 
his warriors to Gaines, who desired to know the extent of 
the ill feeling. 

Before the soldiers had entered Fowlton they were fired 
upon by the Seminoles, but without effect. The fire was 
returned and two Indians and one squaw were killed. This 
infuriated the Indians, who believed the Americans had 
come to dispossess them. That error was to cost them 
their very existence as a nation in Florida. 

Nine days later, an open boat containing forty United 
States troops, seven women, wives of the soldiers, and 
four children, all under command of Lieutenant Scott, of 
the Seventh Infantry, was slowly coming up the Ap- 
palachicola River, within a mile of reaching the junction 
of the Chattahoochee and the Flint Rivers, and not far 
from Fort Scott. The boat was keeping close to shore. 
There was not a sign of Indians, when all of a sudden 
a volley of musketry was fired into the boat. All were 



killed and scalped save four men who jumped overboard 
and one woman, whom the Indians carried off. 

News of this assault reaches Washington, and Presi- 
dent Monroe, who is not at all anxious to have another 
war on his hands, can do nothing less than command 
General Jackson, who is resting at the Hermitage and 
watching the situation in Florida, to proceed to the scene 
of war and conduct it. Monroe is hopeful that General 
Jackson will do nothing to embarrass the negotiations now 
underway with Spain for the purchase of Florida. But 
Jackson has other thoughts. He is a conqueror, not a pur- 
chaser. General Jackson loses no time in stating his 
thoughts to the President. 

"Let it be signified to me," he writes on January 6, 
1818, ''through any channel that the possesion of the 
Ploridas would be desirable to the United States, and in 
sixty days it will be accomplished." Jackson is merely 
fishing for sanction from the President to do that which he 
has already decided he will do anyway. When this letter 
reaches the President he is sick in bed, and Calhoun, who 
takes it to the sick chamber, does not bother the President 
with the reading of it. By the time Monroe gets around to 
reading Jackson's letter he will have on his hands a lovely 
situation in the negotiations with Florida. 


Calhoun informs Jackson that there are now in the field 
eight hundred regular troops and a thousand Georgia 
militiamen. The General is given permission to call on the 
governors of the states for additional troops should he find 
this number insufficient. Jackson, upon his own responsi- 



bility, and without reference to the governors of the states, 
raises his own army — an act which the President himself 
could do not without first obtaining the consent of Con- 
gress. But this is all red tape to Andrew Jackson. 

Two weeks later, Jackson has organized two regiments 
of a thousand mounted troops, one hundred of whom are 
Nashville men who have fought by his side in each of his 
campaigns. They will follow him no matter where he leads. 
Once more Jackson bids good-bye to Rachel. She is accus- 
tomed to seeing him go off to the wars. When he is no 
longer in view, she repairs to her own little church in the 
garden, and kneels alone before the altar that she loves, 
and prays for the safety and speedy return of her man. 

This is the kind of a war that Jackson likes. It is not 
only an Indian war, but it is directed, at least in his mind, 
against a foreign power — Spain, and incidentally England ; 
for he has not forgotten that Spain violated her own neu- 
trality and permitted British troops to use Florida as a 
base in the War of 1812. The General feels good as he 
faces the cool winds of the southern winter. He rides fast, 
like a hungry man going to a barbecue. The distance from 
Nashville to Fort Scott, Georgia, is four hundred and 
fifty miles. The General covers it in forty-six days, but 
when he arrives he learns that a part of the Georgia militia 
thinks ill of the war and has gone home. 

In a short time. General Jackson with his army reaches 
St. Marks, a Spanish post. He burns Indian villages on 
the way, and leaves it to the friendly Indians of his army 
to pursue those who have escaped. St. Marks boasts a 
feeble Spanish garrison. Jackson has already invaded 
foreign territory. This alone is enough to anger the Span- 



ish government, but when he reaches the fort he demands 
that the Spanish troops evacuate it and give place to the 
Americans. They hesitate and argue, so Jackson captures 
the place, takes possession of it, and ships the garrison off 
to Pensacola. 

While the American troops are at St. Marks an Ameri- 
can vessel arrives from New Orleans with supplies. The 
commander hoists British colors as a decoy, and Hil- 
lishago, otherwise known as Prophet Francis, a Seminole 
Chief, and another lesser Chief, go aboard after rowing 
ten miles. They are promptly bound in irons, shipped 
back to the fort and hanged without trial on General Jack- 
son's orders. He acts on the assumption that these Chiefs 
had instigated the attack upon Lieutenant Scott and his 
party in the open boat. 

It developed later that, after the attack on Fowlton, an 
American citizen was captured by a Seminole and carried 
off to an Indian village. He was about to be killed and 
scalped. It was Hillishago who spared the white man's 
life. But that would have made no difference to Jackson 
even had he known it. White men's lives were supposed to 
be spared by Indians! 

Jackson next turns his attention to two men whom he 
supposes are British spies and inciting the Seminoles to 
war. These men are Alexander Arbuthnot, a Scotch 
trader, seventy years old, and Robert C. Ambrister, former 
British lieutenant of marines. Arbuthnot had long been 
friendly with the Seminoles. He was their accredited agent 
and received powxr of attorney from their Chiefs to 
transact their business. There is no evidence that either 
man, despite his friendly attitude toward the Indians 



(Arbuthnot's friendliness had an economic basis, for he 
was a trader), incited the Seminoles to take up arms 
against the United States. 

A courtmartial is summoned at St. Marks, a Spanish 
post, over which the American flag now floats. Arbuthnot 
is sentenced to be hanged as a spy and inciting the Sem- 
inoles to war. Ambrister is found guilty of similar charges, 
but the court recommends that he receive fifty lashes and 
serve a year in prison. General Jackson reviews the find- 
ings. He overrules the verdict of his own military court 
in the case of Ambrister and orders that he be executed 
with Arbuthnot. The sentences are duly carried out. Am- 
brister is shot, and Arbuthnot swings from the limb of a 
tree. The killings take place on the evening of April 29, 
1 8 18. This affair, also, will plague him. 

General Jackson believes the war is over. The Seminoles 
are crushed. On his way homeward, having dismissed some 
of his troops, he turns aside because he has heard that 
some Indians have taken refuge in Pensacola. To that 
place the General proceeds as fast as his horse can carry 
him. It is May 24. Jackson deposes the Spanish govern- 
ment, pulls down their flag and hoists the Stars and 
Stripes over the royal "palace." The Spanish Governor 
and his staff flee without bag or baggage to Barancas, on 
the coast, for protection ; but Jackson pursues them, bom- 
bards the place and ships the Governor and his aides off 
to Havana. One may search history to find a parallel of 
these despotic deeds. 

General Jackson's force in Florida consisted of eighteen 
hundred whites, and fifteen hundred friendly Indians. The 
hostile Seminoles were never put at a higher number 



than two thousand. The friendly Indians did most of the 
fighting. They lost twenty men in the campaign. Not one 
white soldier was killed. The Seminole casualties are placed 
at sixty. 

Jackson's actions have aroused President Monroe, his 
Cabinet and Congress. There is talk in Washington of 
bringing the General before a courtmartial. A committee 
of the House reports a vote of censure, but the House re- 
fuses to pass the resolution. Calhoun, still smarting under 
Jackson's rebuke to himself and to the War Department, 
expresses the opinion in a Cabinet meeting that Jackson 
should be censured. Monroe is ready to disavow Jackson's 
conduct in Florida, but John Quincy Adams, Secretary of 
State, upholds the General and undertakes to assuage 
Spain's injured feelings through the channels of diplo- 

Finally, the Cabinet agrees that Pensacola and St. 
Marks be restored to Spain, but that General Jackson's 
course should be approved and defended on the ground 
that he pursued the enemy to his refuge, and that Spain 
could not do the duty which devolved upon her. 

Every member of the Cabinet agrees to this policy, and 
the secret of their first opinion is guarded for ten years, 
when it explodes, the concussion toppling John C. Cal- 
houn's life-long ambition — to be President of the United 
States. He might easily have made the White House but 
for his secret rebuke to Jackson, behind the General's 
back, at that Cabinet session, which will finally be exposed 
by William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury, after 



his own hopes to attain the Presidency had gone ghmmer- 

At the session of Congress, 1 818-19, the Florida matter 
again comes up for debate. Henry Clay opens the batteries 
of the opposition to Jackson's conduct, and thus begins 
the feud between Jackson and Clay, which endures to the 
dying day of the General, and, incidentally, probably kept 
Clay from the Presidency. It was impossible for Clay to 
suppress his disappointments. He had hoped Monroe 
would name him Secretary of State, and thus put him in 
line for the succession. As the Administration has de- 
fended Jackson's conduct, that is sufficient reason for 
Clay to assail him. In addition to this. Clay sees in Jack- 
son another obstacle to his Presidential aspirations. 

The General, being kept informed of the progress of the 
debate in the House on the Florida matter, decides to go 
to Washington and, if need be, defend himself. His in- 
timate friends try to dissuade him. They fear the General 
will regard Washington as only another battlefield. How- 
ever, the General gallops down Pennsylvania Avenue on 
January 27. He closets himself in a hotel, and receives 
reports from his henchmen. On February 8, the House 
acquits him of wrong doing, although a similar investiga- 
tion is pending in the Senate. 

The General embraces the interim to go visiting. In 
Philadelphia the festivities in his honor last four days. In 
New York the people go wild about him. The freedom of 
the city is presented to him in a gold box, and Tammany 
gives him a dinner in its best style. At Baltimore, the City 
Council requests that he sit for his portrait. It is evident 
from all this that Jackson is not merely a backwoods 




hero. His popularity is national, and apparently nothing 
can dim his star, which is in the ascendant. 

In a few days he is back in Washington, where the 
Senate has begun to debate the Florida issue. Things are 
said that Jackson does not like, and he is determined to 
go to the Capitol and actually cut off the ears of any 
Senator who speaks ill of him. He is prevented from 
carrying out this threat by Commodore Stephen Decatur, 
who meets the General storming up Pennsylvania Avenue. 

The Senate's report is not brought in until the day Con- 
gress adjourns, and it too late to debate it. Thus Jackson 
is given a chance to cool off and Senatorial ears are spared. 

In 1 819, the purchase of Florida is effected, and the 
treaty is ratified on February 22, 1821. In April, Presi- 
dent Monroe, still friendly to Jackson and desiring to 
make reparations to him for the heavy bombardment that 
he has been under, appoints Jackson Governor of Florida. 
A little later, Jackson takes leave of the army. His military 
career is over. He prepares a farewell address, after the 
manner of General Washington — and turns his attention 
to civil duties. 

Nashville, Rachel, and the old boys who loiter about the 
taverns talking horse talk — all are mighty proud of their 
leading citizen. They say he cannot lose in anything. 


Chapter XXI 

OLD HICKORY, whose hair has whitened with his 
fifty-four years, has no heart for this Florida busi- 
ness. On March 31, when he knew he was to be appointed 
and had accepted, he wrote to his nephew, Andrew J. 
Donelson : 

*'I sincerely regret that I did not adhere to my first 
determination not to accept the Government of Floridas, 
your aunt appears very reluctant to go to that climate, 
and really I am wearied with Public life. But it is too 
late to look back, and I will organise the Government 
and retire to private life. I know even in this I make 
a great sacrafice ; but my word is out and I must comply 
at any sacrafice. What may be my compensation I know 
not but whatever it may be I am determined to spend it, 
and to live within." 

With Rachel, and the two Andrews — his adopted son 
and nephew — the General leaves Nashville on April 18. 
The party sails down the Mississippi, and at every wharf 
the natives pays homage to the hero. It is one of the 



few times that Rachel has ventured from Tennessee, and 
her impressions of the voyage and visit to New Orleans 
are so vivid that she relies upon the Bible to express 
them to Mrs. Eliza Kingsley, a neighbor : 

"We arrived in this port within eight days from Nash- 
ville. My health has somewhat improved in this warm 
climate. We had not a very pleasant passage thither, 
owing to so many passengers, nearly two hundred, more 
than half negroes ; but how thankful should we be to our 
Heavenly Father. In so many instances have I had cause 
to praise his holy name. There is not an hour of our lives 
but we are exposed to danger on this river. 

"I will give you a faint description of this place. It re- 
minds me of those words in Revelations : 'Great Babylon 
is come up before me.' Oh, the wickedness, the idolatry 
of this place! unspeakable* the riches and splendor. We 
were met at the Natches and conducted to this place. 
The house and furniture is so splendid I can't pretend a 
description. The attention and honors paid to the Gen- 
eral far excel a recital by my pen. They conducted him 
to the Grand Theater; his box was decorated with ele- 
gant hangings. At his appearance the theater rang with 
loud acclamations, Vive Jackson. Songs of praise were 
sung by ladies, and in the midst they crowned him with 
a crown of laurel. The Lord has promised his humble 
followers a crown that f adeth not ; the present one is al- 
ready withered, the leaves are falling off. St. Paul says, 
^A.11 things shall work together for good to them who are 
in Jesus Christ.' I know I never was so tried before, 
tempted, proved in all things. I know that my Redeemer 



liveth, and that I am his by covenant promise. I want you 
to read the one hundred and thirty-seventh psalm. There 
is not a day or night that I do not repeat it. Oh, for Zion ! 
I wept when I saw this idolatry. Think not, my dear 
friend, that I am in the least unfaithful. It has a con- 
trary effect . . . Say to my father in the gospel — Par- 
son Blackburn — I shall always love him as such. Often 
have I blessed the Lord that I was permitted to be called 
under his ministry. Oh, farewell. Pray for your sister 
in a heathen land, far from my people and church." 

Rachel has romanced about the situation a trifle. Far 
from being a Babylon, New Orleans at this time is a little 
town — swampy and infested with malaria. The people 
try to wear bright faces and make the best of it. Instead 
of moaning and praying for relief to the moon and the 
stars, they tackle the task themselves and whistle as they 
work. It strikes Rachel as peculiar. She thinks God 
should fill in the swamps and the people repair to their 
churches and pray. On religion she is a little "off." 

By July, the General and his wife reach Pensacola, 
where the exchange of flags of the two nations formally 
takes place and Florida passes from Spanish rule. 

Jackson's powers as Governor of Florida are both 
extraordinary and limited. His commission reads : *'Know 
ye that, reposing special trust and confidence in the in- 
tegrity, patriotism, and abilities of Major General An- 
drew Jackson, I do appoint him to exercise all the powers 
and authorities heretofore exercised by the Governor 
and Captain General and Intendant of Cuba, and by the 
Governors of East and West Florida ; provided, however, 



that the said Andrew Jackson, or any other person acting 
under him, or in the said territories, shall have no power 
or authority to lay or collect any new or additional taxes, 
or to grant or confirm to any person or persons, whom- 
soever, any title or claims to land within the same." 

Governor Jackson, however, proceeds to appoint mayors 
and aldermen of the various towns and cities, and em- 
powers them, despite the specific wording of his com- 
mission, ''to levy such taxes as may be necessary for 
the support of the town government." St. Augustine is 
most ambitious in enforcing the new levies, and in later 
years the Governor's enemies will charge that he vio- 
lated his commission by taking the matter of taxation 
into his own hands before he had been in Florida a 

What Rachel calls "profaning the Sabbath" is espe- 
cially painful to her. She had written to a neighbor in 
Nashville that on the Sabbath she had heard ''a great 
deal of noise and swearing on the street. They were so 
boistrous that I sent Major Stanton to say to them that 
the approaching Sunday would be differently kept. Yes- 
terday I had the happiness of witnessing the truth of 
what I had said. Great order was observed; the doors 
kept shut; the gambling houses demolished; fiddling and 
dancing not heard any more on the Lord's day; cursing 
could not be heard." 

The blue Sunday to which Rachel refers was her per- 
sonal victory. She had complained to the Governor, and 
that was all he required to ordain that henceforth the 



theaters and gaming houses and shops were to be closed 
on Sundays. Peculiar action for a man who had raced 
horses, fought cocks and played cards on Sunday, or any 
other day, that he could get a sportsman to take his bet! 
Peculiar also for Rachel, who had been a daring and 
adventuresome young woman of the frontier with young 
blades who, it might be supposed, were not too circum- 
spect in keeping holy the Sabbath Day. 

The Governor starts to organize his government. Most 
of the Spaniards have quit the territory. Former Gov- 
ernor Don Jose Callava and a few of his officers and 
servants remain. Americans begin to pour into Florida. 
Speculators are as thick as flies in the territory. For some 
reason, Florida will always be a gilded boon for realtors. 

But the Governor is no sooner launched upon his 
duties, than he suffers a rude awakening. Rachel lets the 
cat out of the bag in another of her letters. 

'There never was a man more disappointed than the 
General has been. In the first place he has not the power 
to appoint one of his friends, which, I thought, was in 
part the reason of his coming." A month later, Rachel 
writes: 'The General, I think, is the most anxious man 
to get home I ever saw. He calls it a wild-goose chase, 
his coming here. Oh Lord, forgive, if thy will, all those 
my enemies that had an agency in the matter. Many wan- 
der about like lost sheep; all have been disappointed in 
offices. Crage has a constable's place of no value. The 
President made all the appointments, and sent them from 
the city of Washington." 

Governor Jackson was beseiged by a horde of hungry 



job seekers. They followed him into Florida, and he had 
fully expected to repay his friends with federal patron- 

In September, 1821, Jackson resolves to quit his post 
the following month. "I am determined to resign my of- 
fice the moment Congress meets and live near you the 
balance of my life," he writes to Captain John Donelson, 
his brother-in-law, at Nashville. 

The Governor ,who, influenced by his wife's piety, for- 
bids Sabbath amusement, permits two young army of- 
ficers to fight a fatal duel in the streets of Pensacola. 
Jackson still believes in pistols. Rachel has not yet con- 
vinced him that it is wrong to take human life. She has 
only persuaded him that it is evil to speak loudly on the 
Lord's day. The man who was killed had used a hair 
trigger pistol which had stopped at half cock. When this 
is brought to the Governor's attention he waxes wroth. 

"Damn that pistol," he fumes. *'By God, to think that 
a brave man should risk his life on a hair trigger!" The 
Governor advises the slayer to depart from Pensacola; 
nothing more is done about the matter. 


The last of the Spanish governors, Colonel Callava, 
who remains in Pensacola to wind up his affairs, soon 
incurs the Governor's dislike, although the Don appar- 
ently is innocent. Certain persons represent to the Gov- 
ernor that papers necessary for the protection of their 
interests are being packed up by the former Spanish 
ruler to be taken away. There have been other complaints 



against the Spaniards for granting land between the 
making and the ratification of the treaty, and Governor 
Jackson believes these charges. Those who come to him 
for aid are poor. The Governor rises to the occasion with 
a full measure of chivalry and impetuosity. 

"By the Eternal, these Dons shall not rob a poor 
widow," he declares and bangs the table a mighty whack 
with his fist. He dispatches a letter to Callava, demanding 
the return of the papers in question. The Don asks, "What 
papers?" and refuses to surrender any documents unless 
they are identified, and described. The papers are actually 
supposed to be in the possession of Domingo Sousa, Cal- 
lava's aid. In any case, Jackson orders the arrest of the 
former Spanish Governor and his aid, Sousa, and throws 
them both into prison. 

But Callava's friends are not idle. They apply to Eli- 
gius Fromentin, United States Judge for the western dis- 
trict of Florida, for a writ of habeas corpus for the release 
of Callava and his aid. The Judge grants it, where- 
upon Jackson summons the United States Judge to his 
office to show cause v/hy he had dared to interfere with 
his authority as Governor of Florida, with the powers 
of the Captain General of Cuba, Supreme Judge and 
Chancellor. General Jackson omits none of his titles that 
suggest his power. Fromentin pleads illness, but a few 
days later he encounters the Governor and a violent in- 
terview ensues, which results in both the Governor and 
the Judge bombarding President Monroe with statements 
of their side of the case. 

Meanwhile, a few of Callava's friends come to his de- 



fence and have published in a Pensacola newspaper a 
statement upholding the Don. Jackson ascertains the 
names of the subscribers to the statement and expels them 
from Florida at four days' notice, threatening them with 
arrest for contempt if they are in the Territory after 
that time. 

It is October. Governor Jackson and Rachel pack up 
their baggage and depart. Old Hickory is thoroughly dis- 
gusted with his job. It is the sixth time that he has re- 
signed a civil office. He definitely does not like them. 
President Monroe and Secretary Adams both secretly 
are pleased that Jackson has seen fit to retire. Secretary 
Adams tells to a close friend that he had dreaded open- 
ing the mail from Florida, not knowing what Jackson 
would do next. 

Earlier in his Administration, President Monroe had 
it in mind to offer Jackson the portfolio as Minister to 
Russia. He consulted Jefferson. ''My God," Jefferson ex- 
claimed, ''you will have a war on your hands inside of 
a month." 

In the first week of November, the General and his 
wife are home again. He swears he will not leave Nash- 
ville, and will never again hold a public office. For the 
next two years he is successful in carrying out his wish 
for private life. 

But the General's career is not of his own choice from 
now on. He is in the hands of ambitious President- 
makers. Jackson does not covet that office. His friends 
covet it for him. They are determined that they shall 
tame the tiger and train him for his high destiny. 



The General and Rachel sip their mint julep and puff 
their reed pipes in the cool of the evenings, neither quite 
knowing what is in store for them both. Jackson is a 
tired man. Rachel tries to prepare him for God. Others 
are preparing him for the White House. 


Chapter XXII 

WHILE General Jackson is quietly resting at the 
Hermitage, Major Lewis and Major Eaton, the 
latter now United States Senator from Tennessee, are 
putting forth "feelers" in Jackson's behalf for the 
Presidency at the next election — 1824. They do not con- 
fine their ''soundings" to the leaders, many of whom are 
definitely opposed to the General as a candidate (some 
of them because they are candidates themselves), but cir- 
culate, unobtrusively, their promptings among the rank 
and file, the common people — artisans, farmers and la- 
borers, whose imagination and admiration Jackson has 
captured. He must win the support of this element, his 
trainers agree, or fail to achieve the Presidency. 

Lewis is in Nashville, keeping a close watch upon the 
General and his correspondence. From now on he must 
not be permitted to engage in dueling, either with words 
or pistols. Major Lewis has assigned himself the task 
of seeing that Jackson conducts himself as a statesman. 
His speeches and letters on public questions from now 
on, or nearly so, will be edited by Major Lewis or Major 
Henry Lee, half brother of Robert E. Lee, sons of Gen- 



eral Henry Lee, of the Revolution. Major Lee is a facile 
writer. He knows Jackson's fiery thoughts and is emi- 
nently competent to compose them for either speeches or 
letters. One of Jackson's addresses delivered at New Or- 
leans in 1815 is credited to Lee's pen. 

There was, however, a special reason for Lee's attach- 
ment to Old Hickory. In the prime of his life Lee and 
his wife's sister promoted an amour. The neighbors hear- 
ing of the affair turned bitterly upon the Major, who 
decided he might have more peace in a distant community. 

Lee went straight to Jackson and confessed his in- 
discretion. The General forgave him, both out of respect 
for the memory of General Lee, and because he himself 
had been pestered by gossip due to the irregularity of 
his own marital affairs. Moreover, Jackson was generous 
enough to see that Lee could not possibly have been the 
sole offender against the code. The lady must have been 
willing, thought the General. So Lee was duly installed 
as one of Jackson's copyists and composers. Jackson's 
first Inaugural Address also is credited to Lee. 

At Washington, Senator Eaton is watching the polit- 
ical winds. He keeps Lewis, at Nashville, duly informed 
of all that transpires which might have an effect, for good 
or ill, upon the forthcoming candidacy of Andrew Jack- 
son. The stalwart oppositionists to Jackson at the Capital 
do not yet know what the whisperings foretell. 

The General's candidacy is actually launched in 1822, 
in Nashville. Colonel Wilson, editor of the "Nashville 
Gazette," has sounded the tocsin. Pennsylvania is the 
second state to take up the cause for "Jackson for Presi- 



dent." Major Lewis has paid a visit to North CaroHna 
and virtually obtained the pledges of leading Democrats 
in that state, including his father-in-law, Senator Mont- 
fort Stokes, that they will support Jackson's candidacy 
provided Calhoun can be induced to withdraw from the 

The other candidates are Henry Clay, of Kentucky, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives; John Quincy 
Adams, of Massachusetts, Secretary of State; and Wil- 
liam H. Crawford, of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury. 
It is an unheard of thing for a man outside the Wash- 
ington and Congressional cliques to put forth his candi- 
dacy for the White House. What chance has he, any- 
way? The day of party conventions has not yet arrived, 
and up to this time Congress holds a caucus and selects 
the candidates, who then go before the people. But for 
a long time King Caucus, as the system is popularly 
called, has been in disrepute. There is a well founded 
belief among the people that Congress has usurped their 
rights; that it agrees far in advance who the candidates 
shall be; that a candidate must first pledge he will make 
certain Cabinet appointments, and that one of these ap- 
pointees, or possibly two, will be in line for the succession 
to the Presidency. 

General Jackson, of course, has friends in Congress, 
but the Tennesseean himself cannot be considered a candi- 
date because none have placed him in line ''for the suc- 
cession." Therefore, if he is to win, he must dethrone 
King Caucus, and obtain popular support. Neither of 
these is an easy task. The country is still without rail- 



roads. Mails are provokingly irregular and letters reach 
their destination weeks, sometimes months, after they 
are posted. 

It is true, a vigorous press has grown up in many 
states and communities. The editors of many of these 
newspapers, having an eye to building up a healthy circu- 
lation in communities that are far from prosperous, are 
not slow to realize that the people are weary of being dic- 
tated to by Congress in the matter of Presidential candi- 
dates. Moreover, in states removed from New England 
and Virginia, there is a deep feeling that it might be 
good for the country to select a man uncontrolled either 
by Congress or the financial interests of the East. Such a 
man, all agree (except the moneyed interests and Con- 
gress) is Andrew Jackson, called a Westerner in 1823. 

Jackson's friends realize that his own state must take 
the initiative in putting the General forward as an avowed 
candidate. Accordingly, on July 20, 1822, the legislature 
adopts resolutions indorsing their leading citizen for that 
high office. Rachel is chagrined. It means nothing to her, 
except that the General will be away from home again, 
and possibly in more hot water. Jackson has mixed emo- 
tions. When he quit the governorship of Florida he be- 
lieved that he was coming home to die. His health had 
been wretched for six years, and no doubt accounted for 
a certain amount of the persistency with which he pur- 
sued his enemies, and his irascibility generally. But cer- 
tainly not all, perhaps not even a half, of Jackson's vio- 
lent tempers may be ascribed to his various illnesses, 



which have greatly depleted his strength and all but 
wrecked his constitution. He is naturally a fighting Irish- 
man, with a leaven of Scotch tenacity that enables him 
to see his battles through to the always bitter end. 

General Jackson has definite views with respect to the 
honor that has been paid him by Tennessee. Writing to 
his nephew, Andrew, a few weeks later, he says : 

"I did not visit murfreesborough (the capital of Ten- 
nessee from 1 819-1825) as was anticipated, nor do I 
intend; casually, it being hinted to me, that it was in- 
tended by some of my friends to bring my name before 
the nation, as a fit person to fill the Presidential chair, by 
a resolution of the Legislature, I declined going to the 
Legislature at all, well knowing if I did, that it would 
be said by my enemies, that such a resolution was pro- 
duced with my procurement, never having been a ap- 
licant for any office I have filled, and having long since 
determined that I never would, I intend in the presence 
instance to pursue the same independant, republican 
course. They people have the right to elect whom they 
think proper, and every individual composing the repub- 
lic, when they people require his services, is bound to 
render it, regardless of his own opinion, of his unfitness 
for the oflfice he is called to fill. 

''I have reed many letters from every quarter of the 
united states on this subject; I have answered none, nor 
do I intend to answer any, I shall leave the people free 
to adopt such a course as they may think proper . . . 
without any influence of mine exercised by me; I have 
only one wish on this subject, that they people of the 



united states may in their selection of an individual to 
fill the Presidential chair, do it with an eye solely to the 
prosperity of the union, the perpetuation of their own 
happiness, and the durability of their republican form of 
government. Believe me my Dr Andrew that I never 
had a wish to be elevated to that station if I could, my 
sole ambition is to pass to my grave in retirement . . ." 

This letter, written with great feeling and sincerity, 
escaped the censorial pencils of Majors Lewis and Lee. 


It soon becomes apparent to the trainers that Tennessee 
must be held in line at all costs. On the whole, Jackson's 
popularity throughout the state is tremendous. There 
are even sections where a man would speak against him 
at the risk of his hide; but in East Tennessee there is 
much opposition. 

It is 1823. Colonel John Williams, of Knoxville, who 
has been United States Senator since 181 5, is up for 
re-election. WilHams is Jackson's enemy. In 1819 he sup- 
ported the resolution in the Senate to censure Jackson 
for invading Florida in the Seminole War; he has ridi- 
culed the action of the Tennessee legislature in nominat- 
ing Jackson, declaring it would not be seriously supported 
by the people of the state. Major Lewis and Senator 
Eaton decide that Williams must be defeated. He intends 
to make his campaign partly on an anti-Jackson platform 
and unless he is stopped, they fear the people will not seri- 
ously consider Jackson's candidacy, as they will believe 



the General lacks the support even of his own state. 

Lewis and Eaton look about for a strong Jackson man 
to defeat Colonel Williams. They canvass the list, and 
finally conclude that no Jackson man can possibly defeat 
Williams except Jackson himself. They tell the General 
that he must stand as a candidate for the United States 
Senate. He is to be thrust out of his peaceful lair once 
more. The tiger growls ominously, but consents to per- 

The General's managers are fairly certain in advance 
of the meeting of the legislature in October, 1823, that 
they can muster enough votes to defeat Colonel Williams. 
When the ballots are counted there are only twenty-five 
against Jackson, who is declared elected. Only three of 
the twenty-five who opposed him are re-elected to the next 

In November, the Senator-elect packs his bags, and 
with Rachel proceeds to Washington, where he will take 
his seat in December. No more for yet awhile the quiet 
evenings at^ the Hermitage, chatting with old cronies, 
or else puffing his pipe with Rachel and listening to her 
nieces play the harp and sing '^\uld Lang Syne." Another 
of Jackson's favorite songs is "Scots Wha Hae Wi' Wal- 
lace Bled." His eyes become bright with battle fire as he 
listens to the martial words : 

''Scots wha hae wi Wallace bled, 
Scots, whom Bruce has aft en led. 
Welcome to your gory bed, 
Or on to victory! 



Now's the day, and now's the hour! 
See the front of battle low'r, 
See approach proud Edward's power. 
Chains and slavery! 

'Wha will be a traitor knave? 
Wha can fill a coward's grave? 
Wha sae base as be a slave? 
Let him turn and flee! 
Wha for Scotland's king and law, 
Freedom's sword will strongly draw. 
Free-man stand, or free-man fa'? 
Let him follow me!" 

There Is scarcely an evening when the halls of the 
Hermitage have not resounded with song and music, 
with romping and rollicking children, and the deep laugh- 
ter of old warriors regaling each other with battle talk. 
The General is the center of this good humor. One sees 
him sprint through the deep rooms in pursuit of a frisky 
child; now he is leaning over the shoulder of a pretty 
young woman, trying to follow the music and hum the 
tune as she sings it. After these impromptu affairs the 
women invariably gather around him and thrust into his 
hand their autograph albums. Often he writes into them : 
"When I can read my title clear," and signs it, "Andrew 

But not many know this side of the General. His fame 
has spread to virtually every town and hamlet in the 
country. Even children know that he is the hero of the 
Battle of New Orleans. His home circle knows him as 


being gentle. The world regards him as savage. Many 
mothers have told their children some awful tales about 
Jackson. In the homes of people who regard his deeds 
lightly, and believe the worst tales about him, they use 
his name as a bugaboo and a threat to mischievous chil- 
dren. In the old line, ^'Goblins will get you if you don't 
watch out," the name '"J^^kson" has been often substi- 
tuted for ''goblins." 

In New York, a Sunday-School teacher asked the pu- 
pils if they could tell who killed Abel. Quick as light, a 
youngster replied, ''General Jackson." 


The General takes his seat in the Senate. He is the 
embodiment of dignity and decorum. He has a double 
role to play — Senator and Presidential candidate. He 
knows, as do many others, that his Senatorship is only 
for the purpose of throwing into relief his aspirations for 
the higher office. The General now is in the hands of 
Senator Eaton, who pilots him about Washington, sees 
that he is comfortable, and keeps a weather eye on his 
colleague's conduct. But this is scarcely necessary at this 

Another task of Eaton is to find suitable and promi- 
nent persons to "question" Jackson about his views on 
national topics — especially the tariff, which is one of the 
major issues. For publicity purposes, Eaton prepares 
Jackson's opinions in advance on these questions, which 
are duly sent to friendly newspapers about the same time 
that his "questioner" receives Jackson's answer. Jack- 
son's campaign managers are probably the first in the 



country to adopt these publicity methods. The boiler-plate 
interviews are not suspected even by such astute politicians 
as Clay, Calhoun and Adams. 

Senator Jackson has a fairly comprehensive idea of 
what is going on among the Presidential aspirants and 
their backers. He instinctively recoils from the artifices 
of politicians. He is the sole candidate for the Presidency 
who, at this moment, will be much relieved if another 
secures the election. He definitely does not w^ant the office, 
while all the others are hungering for it. Still, he plays the 

Lewis at Nashville, and Livingston at New Orleans, 
fail in their efforts to have the Louisiana legislature in- 
dorse Jackson's candidacy. Louisiana remembers only 
Jackson's establishing martial law, and forgets the Bat- 
tle of New Orleans. In Pennsylvania, however, where 
Calhoun's strength is impressive, Jackson is nominated 
both by the Federalist and the Democratic parties. Jack- 
son's letter to Monroe in 1816, urging him to appoint 
Drayton, a Federalist, as Secretary of War, has been 
made public and is bearing fruit among the Federalists. 
The General's letter, actually written by Lewis, was put 
forth for precisely this purpose. The far-sighted Lewis! 

Chief among the candidates, it might be presumed, is 
John Quincy Adams, fifty-seven years old, son of the 
second President. Adams is actively disliked by all the 
politicians. He is called a "Tory" by many. He is a New 
England aristocrat who distrusts the people. He has the 
smallest and least active corps of w^orkers. Most people 
agree he has made a good Secretary of State. His man- 
ners are frigid and he has few friends. But he is probably 



more cultured than all the other candidates combined. 

Calhoun, of South Carolina, is forty-two years old. 
He is called the ''young man's candidate." In 1817, he 
took the War Department and brought order out of 
chaos. He has a following in New England, New York, 
Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and other sections scattered 
throughout the South. Calhoun has the Presidential itch. 
He dreams day and night of sleeping in the White House. 
He fears Jackson, although for several years he has writ- 
ten honeyed letters to him. Jackson would like to regard 
Calhoun as his friend, but he distrusts him. 

Unconsciously, both men are carrying meat axes which 
they will wield against each other at the proper time. 
Webster prefers Calhoun to all the other candidates. 
Daniel is opposed to Jackson, regards his candidacy as 
ridiculous and the possibility of his election as a national 
calamity. Webster is one of the men whom Jackson would 
have hanged for participating in the Hartford Conven- 
tion which denounced the War of 181 2. 

William H. Crawford, of Georgia, Secretary of the 
Treasury, has been seeking the nomination for eight 
years. He is fifty- two years old, and began his political 
career as a Federalist. He has been accused of corruptly 
using treasury funds to aid his political stock. The House 
exonerated him. Crawford was regarded as the "regular" 
candidate until September, 1823, when he suffered a se- 
vere stroke of paralysis. From then on it was believed 
he was out of the race, but he refused to withdraw his 
name. Jackson has called Crawford "a scoundaral." Craw- 
ford regards Jackson as "a bad noise." 

Henry Clay, of Kentucky, twice Speaker of the House, 



is the most astute politician of them all. He, too, has been 
stung quadrennially by the Presidential bee. He was 
strongly opposed to the re-charter of the first Bank of 
the United States. He has repeatedly urged recognition 
of the small South American republics. He was one of 
the American commissioners who drafted the Treaty of 
Ghent. He lost considerable sums in gambling and for 
three years retired from public life to rehabilitate his 
fortune. Jackson once admired Clay and read his speeches 
in the House religiously. Jackson w^as especially impressed 
by Clay's opposition to the Bank. Now Jackson hates 
Clay. The animosity dates from Clay's speech in Con- 
gress denouncing Jackson's conduct in Florida. Clay 
declares that no military hero, no man on horse back 
should become President. He regards Jackson as a despot. 

Webster observes Jackson in the Senate. The General's 
courtly bearing wins the admiration of all who see him. 
The ladies of Washington daily flock to the galleries 
merely to peer down upon the conqueror about whom 
they have heard terrible stories. They have come expect- 
ing to see a gorilla chained to the floor of the Senate. The 
sight of him completely upsets their previous notions 
of him, and he wins their approval. They wonder what 
his wife is like! Webster writes : "General Jackson's man- 
ners are more Presidential than those of any of the candi- 
dates. He is grave, mild and reserved. My wife is for 
him decidedly." Quite so. Jackson's personality has a 
click which all the others lack. 

The House holds its caucus on February 14, 1824. The 
candidates are duly put forward. There is much attempt 
at political jobbery. The queerest combinations are sug- 



gested; one of these is to let Adams have the Presidency 
and bury Jackson in the Vice Presidency. 

Jackson's friends laugh it off the boards. They will 
have the Presidency for the General or nothing. 

The result of the electoral vote in the Fall is a sur- 
prise to the politicians as v^ell as to the country. Jackson 
receives ninety-nine votes; Adams, eighty-four; Craw- 
ford, forty-one; Clay, thirty-seven. Calhoun receives one 
hundred and eighty-two votes for the Vice Presidency. 
He decides it is wise to have something assured, so he 
retires from the Presidential race. The popular vote for 
President is as follows: Jackson, 155,800; Adams, 105,- 
300; Clay, 46,500; Crawford, 44,200. 


Jackson has failed to obtain a majority of the electoral 
votes, and the contest is thrown into the House of Repre- 
sentatives, where intrigue now commences. Clay with- 
draws from the race. For months there is scarcely a 
prominent man in Washington but who is not supposed 
to be connected with the wholesale bargaining. Clay has 
several interviews with Adams. It is known that Clay 
will never support Jackson. Crawford is out of the race 
on account of his illness. The vote in the House takes 
place February 9, 1825. Clay throws his support to Adams. 
On the first ballot, Adams receives the votes of thirteen 
states, Jackson of seven, Crawford of four. Adams is de- 
clared elected President of the United States. 

Jackson bears his defeat with good grace until it is 
announced that Clay is to be Secretary of State. Coupled 
with this announcement is the report brought to Jackson 



that Clay had bargained with Adams for the portfoHo 
of Secretary of State in exchange for Clay's support in 
the House. Clay's appointment appears logical, despite 
"a bargain." Among those connected with the "bargain" 
story is James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania. Jackson asks 
for no proof. He believes the worst, and is thoroughly 
aroused. What he has seen at the Capitol has filled him 
w^ith horror. "I would rather remain a plain cultivator 
of the soil, as I am," he exclaims to a friend, ''than to 
occupy that which is truly the first office in the world, 
if the voice of the nation was against it." This was meant 
for Adams. 

Previously, Jackson believed Adams to be *'an honest, 
virtuous man." He does not believe so now. His hatred 
for Clay is at white heat. It is not wholly because Clay 
threw his support to Adams, but because, in doing so, 
Jackson believes Clay deliberately bargained for an office 
which he hoped would lift him toward the White House. 
In Jackson's eyes such an act is utterly immoral. Quite 
aside from his own personal and political fortunes, Jack- 
son thinks that, since he received the top vote in the pop- 
ular balloting, and also in the electoral college, the House 
should have respected the wishes of the people and voted 
for the candidate who obviously was their choice. 

The General is disgusted with politics. He remains in 
Washington until the middle of March, 1825, when he 
takes leave of the Senate and goes home, resigning as 
United States Senator. 

Jackson is now more determined than ever that cor- 
ruption shall be brought to an end at Washington. He 
declares the Presidency shall not be bargained for in the 



future, and that the will of the people must be respected, 
even by Congress. The cry goes up over the land : 'Turn 
the rascals out!" 

The campaign of 1828 has started even before Adams 
has taken the oath of office. Jackson's friends are jubilant. 
The General stands squarely before the country as the 
winning candidate who was "jobbed" out of the Presi- 
dency. He is the avowed defender of the people's will. 

''Jackson For President!" "Hurrah For Jackson!" 
These slogans ring in the ears of the statesmen at Wash- 
ington attending the inauguration of John Quincy Adams. 


Chapter XXIII 

THE strength which Andrew Jackson developed in 
1824 as the people's candidate has convinced his 
political enemies in 1828 that he cannot be defeated 
on political issues alone. It is not a question of the 
choice of political parties. It is Jackson the man versus 
everybody and everything that is opposed to his election. 
President Adams is a party man; as a personality, the 
country knows little about him. His Administration has 
been conducted on a high plane of American statesman- 
ship. None but Jackson and his party believes for a mo- 
ment that Adams was capable of entering into a corrupt 
bargain with Clay, or any one else. But Adams is unpopu- 
lar. He is frigid. He is a New England, blue-blooded aris- 
tocrat who thoroughly believes in rule by ''the educated 
class." Theoretically, he indorses democracy ; but plebeian 
voices pain his ears and he instinctively recoils from them. 
Jackson stands for much that Adams distrusts. The 
imperialist of the battlefield is now the defender of de- 
mocracy. This is no pose with Jackson. Sprung from the 
loins of tenant farmers and linen drapers in Ireland, he 
is in the truest sense a man of the people. Strip Jackson 



of his imperious will, and he becomes at once an unlet- 
tered peasant. His father wielded pick and shovel in try- 
ing to subdue the wilderness. His mother assisted him 
and later became a seamstress and chambermaid in the 
home of her relatives. Jackson had keener wits. He se- 
lected different w^eapons to tame the wilderness so that 
whites might live in peace, plenty and security. With such 
talents as he possesses he succeeded, and then reached out 
to defend with all his power the new civilization on the 
American continent. His guns helped to secure it. 

His enemies comb his record, public and private, for 
every morsel of scandal and wrongdoing that attaches 
to his name. They discover numerous public acts which 
are open to serious question, and some that cannot be ex- 
plained away by his shrewdest advisers. His enemies 
chortle in informing the country through the conserva- 
tive press, handbills, and even hostile ''biographies" of 
Jackson, that wherever he has held civil or military office 
his conduct invariably has been tyrannical. They list him 
among the world's despots. 

One of the handbills, printed in Philadelphia, exploits 
Jackson's military excesses ; this tract is embroidered wath 
the pictures of six coffins to symbolize the execution of 
six militiamen at Mobile in 1815, after the war was over. 
He is called a murderer for his fatal duel with Dickinson 
in 1806. They name him a hangman because of the Ar- 
buthnot and Ambrister killings in Florida. 

Still, not content, his foes hurl their charges at the 
Hermitage, calling Mrs. Jackson an adulteress and her 
husband an adulterer. For months the country is regaled 
with the episodes attending the General's marriage, and 



it is all that Major Lewis, Major Lee and Senator Eaton 
can do to restrain Jackson from going on the war-path 
with his pistols. Any number of times he has wanted 
to throw discretion, and the certainty of his election, 
to the winds and hunt down his detractors — more to 
avenge the pain and tears that these charges cause Rachel 
than to bring satisfaction to himself. But the old warrior 
is made to hold his peace until he is firmly seated in 
the White House. Then, if he wishes, he may square 
these accounts — but not with pistols. 

In the two years between his retirement from the Sen- 
ate and 1827, he has been surfeited with such honors as 
have come to no other man in the history of the young 
republic. He is treated not only as a conqueror because 
of his military valor, but also as the next President. 

In the Summer of 1825, when the General returned 
from Washington with Rachel, he was again nominated 
for the Presidency by the Tennessee legislature. In the 
following year his candidacy was indorsed by a huge 
mass meeting in Philadelphia. Martin Van Buren, United 
States Senator from New York, who supported Craw- 
ford in 1824, is prepared to swing New York into the 
Jackson column. In January, 1828, Jackson accepts the 
invitation of the Louisiana legislature to attend the an- 
niversary of the Battle of New Orleans. 

Jackson now actively solicits the support of the voters. 
He is determined not only to ''turn the rascals out," but 
to drag them in the dust after they are out. Louisiana 
gives him her vote in 1828. He has friendly editors at 
strategic points. In Kentucky, Amos Kendall and Fran- 
cis P. Blair, both formerly friendly to the fortunes of 



Clay, have dedicated their newspaper to Jackson's cause. 
In New England, Isaac Hill is trumpeting the virtues 
of the General in the "New Hampshire Patriot." In New 
York, the ''Courier and Journal" is a pro-Jackson news- 
paper. At Washington, Duff Green is doing yeoman serv- 
ice for Jackson as editor of the "United States Tele- 
graph." Kendall, Hill and Blair, with Major Lewis, are 
destined to become the invisible power in helping to shape 
the policies of the Jackson reign. 

Social and industrial questions are becoming acute in 
the country, and thousands of workingmen look to Jack- 
son for "a. square deal" should he become President. In 
many sections workers are cheated out of their wages by 
absconding contractors, or paid in worthless scrip. The 
hours of labor begin at sunrise and end at sunset. Thou- 
sands are in debtors' prisons. Free schools are few and 
far between, and those that do exist carry with them the 
stigma of pauperism for the children of the workers. 
The old English laws are invoked to punish labor or- 
ganizations as conspiracies. In many sections property 
qualifications exclude the workers from voting. The is- 
sues from the standpoint of the laboring, artisan and 
farming classes are public education, abolition of impris- 
onment for debt, equal taxation, cheaper legal proce- 
dure, abolition of conspiracy laws against labor unions, 
abolition of child labor, and opposition to the chartered 
Bank and monopolies. 

One of the main issues is free public schools. Agitation 
for them has encountered firm opposition from the 



wealthy and educated classes. In many sections of the 
country newspapers owned by wealthy persons persist- 
ently attack free education as class legislation and in- 
compatible with the well being of society. There are 
debtor prisons in all the larger cities. Thirty-two prisons 
in 1830 report 2,841 debtors imprisoned for sums under 
twenty dollars. Seventy-five thousand free Americans are 
hauled away to jails aimually for debt. Of course, they 
are working men. In their absence their wives and chil- 
dren are recruited for the mills and factories, at less pay 
than the men received. 

The common people, then, look to Andrew Jackson to 
abolish these conditions, or at least ameliorate them. By 
1825 industry had developed to a considerable extent, and 
trades are brought into being that were unknown to 
the Colonial period. Social and economic laws of the 
United States have not changed to meet this new labor 
problem, and the sufferers are the working classes. Wages 
vary from twenty-five cents to seventy-five cents a day 
for twelve hours' work. Brothels spring up beside the 
factories to an alarming extent. In 1829, the Working- 
men's Party is organized in New York, and the "class 
struggle" is recognized in America twenty years before 
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels write their "Commu- 
nist Manifesto." Not until 1840, will the ten-hour day be 
established for public works, and it will remain for Presi- 
dent Van Buren to so proclaim it. Not until 1842 will 
imprisonment for debt be abolished in New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Connecticut, Indiana and Tennessee. 

Unemployment, poverty, long hours of labor, small 
wages, ghastly living conditions for the workers in the 



cities are sending thousands from the East into the west- 
ern states for relief. It is these people, long weary and 
agitated by the gross indifference on the part of the priv- 
ileged class and the administrations to their lot, who now 
turn to Jackson and the Democratic Party for relief. It 
is the laboring class and the farmers in the United States 
who are throwing their hats into the air and shouting, 
''Hurrah for Jackson !" 

But Jackson, however deep his sympathies may lie with 
the weak and the poor, is surely no student of social, eco- 
nomic and industrial conditions in the republic. 

President Adams, Secretary Clay and their followers 
believe the Administration ticket will win at the polls. 
King Caucus is dead. Congress no longer has the power 
to foist its candidate upon the people and force his 
election. General Jackson dethroned King Caucus in 1824. 
In 1828 there are but two candidates: Adams and Jack- 

There are two hundred and sixty-one electoral votes. 
One hundred and thirty-one constitutes a majority. One 
hundred and seventy-eight are cast for General Jack- 
son, eighty-three for Adams. Calhoun receives one hun- 
dred and seventy-one votes for Vice President. Through- 
out the United States bonfires are lighted, impromptu 
parades are formed and mobs march through the streets 
singing the praises of Old Hickory. Hundreds of wealthy 
people remain in their homes behind barred doors. The 
rising of the masses makes them fearful and sick. 

In Nashville there is special rejoicing everywhere — 
except at the Hermitage. General Jackson sits by the 
fire smoking his pipe. Mrs. Jackson remarks to Major 



Lewis: *Well, for Mr. Jackson's sake, I am glad; for 
my own, I never wished it." 


There has not been a day during the campaign that 
Rachel Jackson has not felt the sting of the General's 
enemies. Both her witless friends and his foes have made 
doubly sure that she would see the dreadful slanders in 
the opposition press. In the Summer of 1828, she writes 
to a friend and refers to the campaign. (This letter has 
escaped the editorial pens which hitherto have dressed 
up Rachel's writing. ) The letter : 

"My dear friend: It is a Long time since you wrote 
me a Line But having so favourable an oppertunity by 
Major Smith I could not Deny my self that pleasure : for 
rest asured my Dear friend you are as Dear to me as a 
Sister. I am denyd maney pleasures and comforts in this 
Life and that is one and Sister Hays and her famoly 
your Famaly with Hers would have been my joy in this 
world but alas you ar all far from me, well the apostle 
says I can do all things in Christ who strengtheneth me. 
I can say my soule can bear testimony to the truth of that 
Gospel for who has been so cruelly tryd as I have my 
mind by trials hav been severe, the enemys of the Genls 
have dipt their arrows in wormwood and gall and sped 
them at me Almighty God was there ever anything to 
equal it. My old acquentances wer as much hurt as if it 
was themselves or Daughters, to think that thirty years 
had passed in happy social friendship with society, know- 



ing or thinking no ill to no one — as my judg will know 
— how maney prayers have I ofered up for their repent- 
ance — but wo unto them of offences Come theay have 
Disquieted one that theay had no rite to do theay have 
offended God and man — in as much as you offend one of 
the Least of my little ones you offend me Now I leave 
them to them selves I feare them not I fear Him that 
can kill the Body and cast the soule into Hellfire. o Etur- 
nity awful is the name. . . ." etc. 

Rachel's health has been precarious for four or five 
years. She has frequently complained of pain in the re- 
gion of the heart. Very often during the campaign friends 
have found her in tears, pacing the floor and rubbing her 
side. The General may only guess how deeply the thrusts 
of his enemies have wrenched the heart of his beloved 
Rachel, whose name has been dragged before the public, 
held up to contempt and ridicule, and branded as that 
of an adulteress. 

The women of Nashville, who have known her as a 
pious and kindly neighbor for more than thirty years, 
try to console her. They decide to assemble in a sewing 
circle every afternoon and prepare for her a handsome 
wardrobe suitable for the First Lady of the Land. 

It is December 17. Old Hannah is in the kitchen pre- 
paring dinner. The President-elect is in the fields, looking 
over his crops, his colts, and talking with his slaves, who 
are oblivious of their servitude in the presence of their 
master. Old Hannah calls Mrs. Jackson into the kitchen 
to receive her opinion on some article of food that is 



being prepared. Rachel returns to the sitting room, utters 
a terrible cry and sinks into a chair, clutching at her heart. 
For sixty hours she struggles for life. 

The General is beside himself with anxiety. He does 
not leave her bedside for as much as ten minutes. In a 
few days her agony subsides. She feels better, and insists 
that the General attend the elaborate banquet on the 
twenty-third that the citizens of Nashville are planning in 
his honor. It will be the most festive tribute that Tennessee 
has ever paid to Andrew Jackson, who has held virtually 
every honor within the gift of the state; whose march 
toward the Presidency started among these simple people 
of the Cumberland when the Republic was an infant. 

On the evening of the twenty-second, Rachel says she 
feels better. The General bids her good night and re- 
tires to his room for a little sleep. Five minutes later he 
hears a terrible shriek, loud and long. He rushes into her 
room. Rachel is in the arms of Old Hannah. She does 
not speak again. 

Jackson does not believe Rachel is dead. He sits on 
the side of the bed, holding her hands until they grow 
cold. Still he is not convinced. The doctor and the house 
servants place the body on a table. ^'Spread four blankets 
upon it," commands the husband. 'Tf she does come to, 
she will lie so hard upon the table." 

All through the night, Jackson sits in the room by the 
side of the form he loved so dearly. His face rests heavily 
in the palms of his hands which now and then sweep 
wearily through his snow white hair. Dawn tiptoes 
through the windows of the Hermitage. Black forms 


press their faces against the panes and withdraw. The 
General has not stirred from the side of his beloved dead. 

'The mistus was more a mother to us than a mis- 
tus," wails Old Hannah. "And the same we say of the 
mastah. He is more a father to us than a mastah, for 
he helps us out of our troubles." 

They carry Rachel's body to a grave in the garden of 
the Hermitage, and as the fresh earth encloses her form 
all that is gentle in the spirit of Andrew Jackson is buried 
with her. Her husband has achieved the Presidency, but 
his enemies would not permit him that high fortune 
without exacting their price. He is made to forfeit all 
that is near and dear to him on this earth — Rachel, with 
whom he lived for thirty-seven years. On the tablet that 
covers her grave is inscribed : ''A being so gentle and 
so virtuous, slander might wound but could not dishonor. 
Even death, when he tore her from the arms of her hus- 
band, could but transport her to the bosom of her God." 


Great events are calling for Andrew Jackson to stifle 
his grief and grasp the reins of government. His Inau- 
gural Address is prepared at Nashville. It is the joint pro- 
duction of the General, Major Lewis and Major Lee, the 
latter doing the actual writing. The General is resolved 
to do right in his high office. He consecrates himself to 
the memory of Rachel. But there is another feeling that 
struggles for supremacy within him. It is to even the 
score with those whom he profoundly believes have killed 
his wife. And he is convinced, most likely erroneously, 



that the initiator of the slanders against Rachel is Henry 
Clay. He believes also that President Adams countenanced 
that form of a campaign against him. He is wrong. 

The middle of January, the President-elect begins the 
journey to Washington. He is accompanied by his 
nephew, Andrew Jackson Donelson, who will become his 
private secretary, and the latter's wife, Mrs. Donelson, 
who will be mistress of the White House, assisted by one 
of Mrs. Jackson's nieces. Major Lewis and Major Lee 
also are in the Presidential party. Later on will come 
R. E. W. Earle, a portrait painter, the General's friend, who 
will live at the Executive Mansion, and occupy his entire 
time in painting portraits of Jackson. It will be understood 
that those who seek the President's favor will be wise in 
first giving this artist a commission. He will be called 
"The King's Painter." 

The party travels by boat most of the way. Washing- 
ton goes wild with excitement as General Jackson enters 
the city. The White House is virtually deserted. Presi- 
dent Adams, nursing a grouch over his defeat, is packing 
up his papers for an early departure. He cannot quite 
make it all out. It seems as though the population of 
the whole country has suddenly descended upon the little 
city of Washington, whose streets are still cow-paths, 
through which stage coaches rumble and often upset in 
the deep mud gullies. 

Webster observes: "I never saw such a crowd here 
before. Persons have come five hundred miles to see Gen- 
eral Jackson, and they really seem to think that the coun- 
try is rescued from some dreadful danger." 



Chapter XXIV 


y\ GREATER concourse of people never attended an 
jl\. inauguration of a President than is present around 
the Capitol as Andrew Jackson takes the oath as sev- 
enth President of the United States. King Mob whips his 
hordes into a frenzy as he catches a glimpse of the tall 
and imposing figure of the Tennesseean. As Chief Justice 
Marshall appears to administer the oath a sudden calm 
pervades the scene and ten thousand upturned and exult- 
ant faces witneac Old Hickory swearing on the Bible of 
his departed Rachel to uphold the Constitution of the 
republic. The President begins to read his address, but 
his voice fails to carry into the throng. What does it 
matter? They have come not to hear the speech, but to 
see the man. 

The address is brief. Jackson is committed to a pro- 
tective tariff and a policy for internal improvements. 
Of the tariff he says : ''With regard to a proper selec- 
tion of the subjects of impost, with a view to revenue, 
it would seem to me that the spirit of equity, caution 



and compromise, in which the Constitution was formed, 
requires that the great interests of agriculture, commerce 
and manufactures, should be equally favored; and that, 
perhaps, the only exception to this rule should consist 
in the peculiar encouragement of any products of either 
of them that may be found essential to our national in- 

The President dismisses the question of internal im- 
provements in a sentence : 'Tnternal improvement, and the 
diffusion of knowledge, so far as they can be promoted 
by the Constitutional acts of the federal government, are 
of high importance." 

It is his attitude toward national defence that causes 
surprise in Washington. It had been charged during the 
campaign that, if Jackson became President, the Man on 
Horseback would reduce the republic to a nation of goose- 
steppers, and that military parades rather than executive 
duties would occupy the attention of the Chief Magis- 

The President, who owes his position to his deeds on 
the battlefield, says: "Considering staiWing armies as 
dangerous to free governments, in time of peace, I shall 
not seek to enlarge our present establishment, nor dis- 
regard that salutary lesson of political experience which 
teaches that the military should be held subordinate to 
the civil power." As a commander in the field, Jackson 
took exactly the reverse attitude. "The bulwark of our 
defence," he declares, "is the national militia." 

"It will be my sincere and constant desire, to observe 
towards the Indian tribes within our limits, a just and 
liberal policy; and to give that humane and considerate 



attention to their rights and their wants," says the former 
Indian fighter whose treaties with the Red men have 
called forth many rebukes in Congress because of their 

He further declares ''the recent demonstration of pub- 
lic sentiment inscribes, on the list of executive duties, in 
characters too legible to be overlooked, the task of re- 
form, which will require, particularly the correction of 
those abuses that have brought the patronage of the fed- 
eral government into conflict with the freedom of elec- 
tions." None know save the members of the Kitchen Cab- 
inet to what the President refers in the matter of 
''reform" ; but all are soon to find out, and there will 
be much weeping and wailing. 

For the first time in history the common people feel 
they have a special right to visit the White House and 
participate in the festivities attending the inauguration. 
Women in gingham and shawls, men in high unpolished 
boots and mackinaws crowd into the rooms of the White 
House — all laughing and shouting, running upstairs and 
downstairs, peeping into all the rooms to see how a Presi- 
dent lives, indeed, to see how Andrew Jackson, from 
the backwoods, will live in his new apartments. It is too 
much for Judge Joseph Story, of the Supreme Court, 
a loyal Adams man. He writes to a friend : "The Presi- 
dent was visited by immense crowds of people, from the 
highest and most polished, down to the most vulgar and 
gross in the nation." 

The latter were, of course, working people whose votes 



had put Jackson Into office. They had frankly come for 
a good time and they had it. Hitherto, such receptions 
were reserved almost exclusively for the elite of Wash- 
ington. But a nev^ era begins v^^ith President Jackson, in 
more ways than one, as Washington's ladies and gentle- 
men will soon observe. 

Of course. President Jackson sees that refreshments 
are served to his guests. Orange punch by barrels full is 
made, but, as the waiters open the doors to bring it out, 
a stampede ensues for the beverage ; glasses and crockery 
are broken and pails of liquor are upset on the rich car- 
pets of the Executive Mansion. So eager are the men 
to get their share of punch that waiters find it difficult 
to bring the women wine and ices. So tubs of punch are 
finally taken out into the garden to lure the crowd from 
the rooms. Jackson shakes hands with the assemblage, 
and those who cannot crowd up front stand on the beau- 
tiful damask chairs to see the President. Two tall men 
seat two pretty girls on each end of the mantelpiece, from 
which point of vantage they sparkle like living candela- 

An air of expectancy pervades Washington. Ex-Presi- 
dent Adams has departed with injured feelings because 
Jackson deliberately ignored him and refused to pay the 
out-going President a call of courtesy. Henry Clay mopes 
in his home and does not leave the house on the bright 
sunny day of the inauguration. John C. Calhoun, as Vice 
President, is joyful. He sees himself as Jackson's suc- 
cessor. Office-holders quake in their shoes. Thirty-eight 
of President Adams's nominations had been postponed by 



the Senate in order to give that patronage to Jackson. It 
seems as if one half of the population of Washington are 
hungry office seekers. Every member of the Kitchen Cab- 
inet and high personages, expected to be favored by the 
Administration, are button-holed for jobs. Old soldiers 
under Jackson in his several wars make it a field day 
for job-hunting. Politicians of acknowledged evil bearing 
are bold and brazen in asserting their wants. There are 
as many rascals begging to be turned into the fold to feed 
for four years at the public trough as Jackson has made 
up his mind to turn out into barren pastures. 


Edward Livingston, now a Senator from Louisiana, 
is told by Jackson that Martin Van Buren is to be Sec- 
retary of State. He offers Livingston, his old aide at the 
Battle of New Orleans, the choice of the other posts. 
Livingston prefers his Senatorship to a Cabinet portfolio, 
except that one designated for Van Buren. 'The Red 
Fox," as Van Buren is called, resigns the Governorship 
of New York, which he has held for two months, and 
departs for Washington. 

Samuel D. Ingham, of Pennsylvania, a shrewd mer- 
chant, owner of a paper mill, and author of a pamphlet 
attacking Adams and Clay on the basis of the ''bargain 
story," is named Secretary of the Treasury. 

John H. Eaton, Senator from Tennessee, native of 
North Carolina, a graduate from Chapel Hill, original 
Jackson man, his first biographer, and the husband of 
one of Mrs. Jackson's nieces, becomes Secretary of War. 



The President could not have made a more unfortunate 
choice here, had he deHberately set about to give himself 
endless trouble. 

John Branch, of North Carolina, named Secretary of 
the Navy, endeared himself to Jackson by voting in the 
Senate against the confirmation of Clay as Secretary of 
State in 1825. He, Hke Ingham, was originally a Cal- 
houn man. 

John McPherson Berrien, of Georgia, who has attained 
some eminence as a lawyer, judge and legislator, is ap- 
pointed Attorney General. He, too, voted against con- 
firming Clay in 1825. 

William T. Barry, of Kentucky, appointed Postmaster 
General, was formerly friendly to Clay, but he swallowed 
the "bargain story" and aided mightily in swinging Ken- 
tucky into Jackson's column for the Presidency. Barry 
had to be rewarded. He is the first Postmaster General 
to receive Cabinet rank. Almost immediately, John Ran- 
dolph, of Virginia, who fought a duel with Clay in 1825, 
is given the mission to Russia. President Jackson has 
begun at once to even the score with Henry Clay, at 
whose door he lays the blame for the death of Rachel. 

The Kitchen Cabinet, through which the President is 
able to reward a few of his most intimate supporters 
without saddling them with burdensome tasks, makes its 
debut with the Jackson Administration. Duff Green, edi- 
tor of the "United States Telegraph," is rewarded for 
his fierce support with a large share of the public print- 
ing, and his paper becomes the recognized organ of the 
Administration, which also is something of an innova- 
tion in politics. 



Major Lewis, who furnished the backbone and brains 
of Jackson's candidacy from its inception to its triumph, 
seeks no official favors. He has informed Jackson that he 
desires to return to Tennessee and tend his farm. "Why, 
Major,'* exclaims the General, "you are not going to leave 
me here alone after doing more than any other man to 
bring me here?" Lewis agrees to remain. He is given 
an Auditorship in the Treasury, makes his home at the 
White House, and remains for eight years the constant 
companion and adviser of President Jackson. Lewis was 
a brother-in-law of Secretary Eaton, both having mar- 
ried nieces of Mrs. Jackson. 

Ike Hill, the New Hampshire editor, who is urgent for 
the removal of all those who opposed the election of 
Jackson, is given a second Comptrollership of the Treas- 
ury at three thousand dollars a year, and ten clerkships 
in his gift. Jackson regards Hill as one of his strongest 

Amos Kendall, native of Massachusetts, more recently 
editor of a pro- Jackson paper in Kentucky, ranking with 
Lewis in intelligence and ability, is kept in Washington as 
Fourth Auditor of the Treasury. Francis P. Blair has not 
yet been given an official berth, but before long this saga- 
cious journalist will become one of the chief props of Jack- 
son's throne. Blair's artillery will be ink and paper. He 
will fit into the Jacksonian mind as snugly as a chip in a 
jig-saw puzzle. Opposition politicians will have cause to 
wish, before eight years have run, that Blair had never 
been born. His son will become Postmaster General in 
Lincoln's Cabinet. 

Thus, the gentlemen are seated. In Washington, an op- 



position wit has pronounced the Cabinet selections "the 
millennium of the minnows." 


Terror strikes at the heart of Washington. The office- 
holders are going to lose their jobs and a new brood will be 
installed. President Washington removed none from office 
except for good cause. John Adams disposed of nine men 
during his term ; Jefferson in eight years removed thirty- 
nine ; Madison in two terms unseated five ; Monroe in two 
terms dispatched nine; John Quincy Adams found only 
two who were unworthy. 

Governor William Marcy, of New York, coined the 
phrase, ''To the victors belong the spoils." President 
Jackson applies it. In the first month of his rule he ousts 
more office-holders than had occurred in all the previous 
administrations combined. In the first year two thousand 
civil employees lose their jobs which are promptly filled by 
Jackson's partisans. Among these are four hundred and 
ninety-one postmasterships out of a total of eight thou- 
sand. Only the four hundred and ninety-one are worth 

General William Henry Harrison was appointed Minis- 
ter to the new republic of Colombia in the last days of the 
Adams regime. Four days after Jackson took office, Har- 
rison was recalled. He had been at his post only four 
weeks. Harrison's offence was his criticism of General 
Jackson's policy in the Seminole War. Also, he had de- 
fended Clay against the charge of ''bargain" and corrup- 
tion. By way of giving point to his purpose, Jackson ap- 
points to Harrison's post a man from Clay's own state — 



Kentucky — and one who had been especially hostile to 
Jackson's arch enemy. 

Samuel Swartwout — he who had won Jackson's favor 
by pushing General Wilkinson into the gutter at Rich- 
mond during the Burr episode — is given the plum of 
Collector of Customs at the Port of New York, and is 
started on his career of looting the treasury. Prior to his 
appointment he had written to a friend, who also was 
seeking office : "Whether or not I shall get anything in the 
general scramble for plunder, remains to be proven; but 
I rather guess I shall. What it will be is not yet so certain ; 
perhaps keeper of the Bergen lighthouse." 

Major Henry Lee, he who wrote Jackson's speeches, is 
left out in the cold. Jackson fears to give him a prominent 
place because of Lee's amour with his wife's sister. The 
Major is appointed Consul to Algiers. The Senate refuses 
to confirm the nomination, so the Major, heartbroken, 
goes to Paris where he begins to write the life of Na- 
poleon. He dies before the task is completed. 

''The reign of terror," as the older residents of the 
Capital call the new condition of things, continues apace. 
Those who have managed to retain their places know not 
when they will be displaced. Bureau heads have been ex- 
tremely vague in stating reasons to their subordinates for 
their removal. Merchants suffer from lack of cash and 
pile up credits against unemployed civil servants. Build- 
ers are forced to cease construction work on new homes. 

Van Buren and Calhoun at once are rivals for the con- 
trol of patronage and for the succession to the throne be- 
fore the Administration is more than a few months old. 

Three elements ever predominant in Jackson's character 



— passion, resentment and gratitude — are everywhere ap- 
parent as he sets in motion the machinery of government 
that creaks and groans under the inexperienced hands of 
the new helmsmen. 

As the warm Spring days arrive, the President is often 
seen in the cool of the evening strolling about the grounds 
of the White House, smoking his pipe. He is frequently 
alone. In these solitary walks his thoughts are not always 
concerned with his high duties, but travel back to the 
garden of the Hermitage. He wonders sometimes how 
Rachel would have liked this lofty station. 

He does not know that at this very moment two minis- 
ters of the gospel have diverted their attention from their 
Christian texts, and are busily exchanging letters that pile 
up accusations of immorality against the wife of his 
Secretary of War. These charges, predicated upon loose 
gossip, will rend the social life of Washington, and ul- 
timately wreck the Cabinet. 

President Andrew Jackson will soon pull down his 
visor, grasp his lance and go forth to battle in defence of 
the virtue and honor of Peggy Eaton, the tavern keeper's 



Chapter XXV 


PEGGY O'NEAL, beautiful and dashing, grew up in 
her father's tavern at Washington, which was the 
rendezvous as well as the boarding house of numerous 
members of Congress. Peggy was witty and saucy. Often 
she tended bar and served at the tables. Many legislators, 
who had left their wives at home in distant places, patron- 
ized O'Neal's tavern because of pretty Peggy, whose 
coquetry and merry chatter was a happy interlude between 
dismal days passed at law-making. There was that air 
about Peggy which made it not immodest for her to sit 
on the knee of a Senator or Representative. Peggy was 
utterly natural, and her mind was free from prudishness ; 
she was not conscious that her sprightliness among the 
tavern's guests already was causing gossip in Washing- 
ton's younger set. 

In 1818, Major Eaton came to Washington as Senator 
from Tennessee. He boarded at O'Neal's tavern and be- 
came acquainted with Peg. Every Winter for ten years, 
Senator Eaton made his headquarters there. Doubtless 
propinquity was an ally that fastened the affections of the 
lonely Senator, whose wife was in Tennessee, to the win- 
some bar-maid. O'Neal's tavern was an eminently respect- 



able place. General and Mrs. Jackson had stopped there in 
1823, when Jackson was a Senator. They both knew 
Peggy and liked her. The General was friendly to her 
father and mother. 

In the course of time, Peggy became the wife of one 
Timberlake, purser in the navy. Her husband's calling 
took him far from home for long' periods. She continued 
to live at the tavern, as did Senator Eaton. In 1828, Tim- 
berlake, long addicted to whisky, cut his throat while on 
duty in the Mediterranean. When Eaton, then a widower, 
heard this news he felt a deep inclination to marry Mrs. 
Timberlake. His regard for her had always been exceed- 
ingly tender, but was kept, it is presumed, within rein. 

Eaton, feeling certain that President Jackson would in- 
clude him in his Cabinet, and being aware that Mrs. 
Timberlake, despite her two children, bore a lavendar 
reputation in Washington society, approached Jackson on 
the subject of the propriety of the marriage. 

''Why, yes. Major," said Jackson, ''if you love the 
woman, and she will have you, marry her by all means." 
Eaton confided to Jackson what the President already 
knew — that Eaton was accused of having lived with Peggy 
at the tavern both before her marriage and afterwards. 
"Well," Jackson replied, "your marrying her will disprove 
these charges, and restore Peg's good name." Thus, with 
the Presidential imprimatur upon his nuptial certificate. 
Senator Eaton and Peggy Timberlake went to the altar 
on New Year's Day, 1829. 

Washington society began to buzz with scandalous 
stories about Eaton and Peggy the moment it was known 
that the Senator had been appointed Secretary of War. 



His Cabinet position meant that the eHte circles would 
have to admit the former bar-maid, whose morals were in 
serious question. A revolt was speedily organized among 
the women — wives of high officials — and even extended 
into the diplomatic corps. What could President Jackson 
mean by including in his Cabinet a man guilty of adultery 
with Peggy Timberlake ! The Eaton matter was the only 
topic discussed when two or more Washington society 
belles met. The partisans of Adams and Clay are gleeful 
over this early discomfiture of the Administration and they 
make of the private nonsense a political issue. 

There was a way of handling this question. The Rev. 
J. N. Campbell, pastor of the New York Avenue Presby- 
terian Church, which Jackson and Rachel had attended in 
former years, and where the President was expected to 
worship in the future (out of respect for the memory of 
his wife), was appealed to on the grounds of private 
morality and public decency. He should ''advise" the Presi- 
dent, his communicant, and urge that Secretary Eaton be 
dropped from the Cabinet, and thereby save the Admin- 
istration and the government of the United States from 
this dreadful humiliation. 

The Rev. Mr. Campbell already knew of the gossip that 
was going the rounds and he was thoroughly convinced of 
its credibility. But he was a cautious man. He would take 
no chances in confronting Andrew Jackson with the 
charges that were piled up against Eaton and his wife. 
Living in the same city with Jackson was entirely too close 
proximity to fool with fire. So the amiable Doctor Camp- 



bell writes to the Rev. Dr. Ezra Stiles Ely, in Philadelphia, 
reciting the charges and requesting that Doctor Ely draft 
a letter of protest to the President. Ely, knowing little of 
the situation, but believing the accusations must be true, 
consents to be the medium. A bad day for Ely. 

Ely's letter to the President reads like an indictment of 
Peggy and the Secretary of War. Parton assembles and 
condenses the charges admirably : Peggy has borne an evil 
reputation from her girlhood; the ladies of Washington 
will not speak to her ; a man at a table at Gadsby's Hotel 
had declared openly that he knew her to be a dissolute 
woman ; Mrs. Eaton had told her servants to call her chil- 
dren Eaton, for Timberlake was not their father; a 
clergyman of Washington had told Dr. Ely that a dead 
physician had told him that Peggy had had a miscarriage 
when her husband had been absent for a year ; friends of 
Eaton had urged him to seek other quarters in order to rid 
himself of Mrs. Timberlake; Eaton and Mrs. Timber- 
lake had traveled together and had registered in New 
York hotels as man and wife. These were the charges. 

Jackson buckles on his armor at once. Two days after 
he receives Ely's letter he replies to it to the extent of a 
three thousand word rebuttal. He makes the case his own 
and is prepared to fight it out though the government may 
fall and the heavens collapse. ''No, by the Eternal," 
Jackson says, he will not be intimidated by clergymen and 
the society belles of Washington. Neither will he offer up 
his Secretary of War as a sacrifice to the serpentine 
tongues of his enemies. Jackson, ever suspicious and armed 



against the worst traits of people, scents a political basis 
for this image of scandal that has come crashing through 
the portals of the White House. In his letter to Doctor 
Ely, Jackson suggests that the charges have emanated 
from Clay and his partisans. He does not yet suspect that 
Vice President Calhoun might have had a hand in it. 

*'li you feel yourself at liberty," writes Jackson, "to 
give the names of those secret traducers of female reputa- 
tion, I entertain no doubt but they will be exposed and 
consigned to public odium, which should ever be the lot of 
those whose morbid appetite delights in defamation and 

"Would you, my worthy friend, desire me to add the 
weight and influence of my name, whatever it may be, to 
assist in crushing Mrs. Eaton who, I do believe, and have a 
right to believe, is a much injured woman, and more 
virtuous than some of her enemies?" asks the President. 
He declares that Eaton's character, also, is without a 
blemish. ''Even Mrs. Madison was assailed by these 
fiends in human shape," he reminds the pastor. Again, 
Jackson tells the divine that in 1823 he himself was a 
lodger at O'Neal's tavern, and so remained for several 

"From the situation and the proximity of the rooms we 
occupied, there could not have been any illicit intercourse 
between Mr. Eaton and Mrs. Timberlake without my hav- 
ing some knowledge of it." He admits he had heard such 
reports several years ago "and found it originated with 
a female, against whom there was as much said as is now 
said against Mrs. Eaton." 

The President denies that Eaton and Mrs. Timberlake 



registered at hotels as man and wife, and he expresses pity 
for the clergyman who said a dead doctor told him that 
Mrs. Timberlake had been pregnant during the prolonged 
absence of her husband. '1 pray you write this clergyman, 
and remind him of the precepts contained in the good old 
Book." Concluding, he says : "Whilst on the one hand we 
should shun base women as a pestilence of the worst and 
most dangerous kind to society, we ought, on the other, 
to guard virtuous female character with vestal vigilance. 
Truth shuns not the light ; but falsehood deals in sly and 
dark insinuations, and prefers darkness, because its deeds 
are evil. The Psalmist says The liar's tongue we ever hate, 
and banish from our sight.' " 

The Philadelphia clergyman, at a safe distance, in his 
reply declines to drop the charges, and Jackson indites to 
him another long letter demanding proof. The President 
virtually suspends the regular business of the government 
during the Summer and Fall of 1829 while he defends 
Peggy Eaton and his Secretary. But his energy does not 
cease with mere letter writing on the subject which, if 
collected, might fill nearly a hundred printed pages. He 
sends an emissary to New York to scan hotel registers. 
He collects fifteen certificates attesting to Mrs. Eaton's 
good character, all written at his personal request. He de- 
mands that Doctor Ely disclose the name of the clergyman 
of Washington who supplied some of the charges. Hence, 
Doctor Campbell, the informer, goes to the White House 
and gives his testimony. Jackson himself writes a lengthy 
memorandum of this interview. The President scores a 



point over the clergyman, who has declared that Mrs. 
Eaton's miscarriage occurred in the year 1821. 

Jackson had previously gone to the Eaton menage and 
interviewed Peggy on this delicate subject. He discovered 
that Timberlake was in business in Washington through- 
out the year 1821, and did not leave the city until Febru- 
ary, 1822. When confronted with the evidence in writing 
the non-plussed Doctor Campbell advances the date. The 
interview with Campbell takes place in September. Immedi- 
ately following it, Jackson summons a Cabinet meeting 
and calls in Dr. Ely and Dr. Campbell. The two clergymen 
have an extremely embarrassing time of it. President Jack- 
son interrogates them both with marked asperity and at 
the conclusion he feels that Mrs. Eaton and his War Secre- 
tary have been vindicated. 

But the ladies of Washington, including the wives of 
Cabinet Ministers, are not so easly convinced. Mrs. Cal- 
houn is especially hostile. Even Mrs. Donelson, she who 
presides as mistress of the White House, shuns Mrs. 
Eaton. Her husband, Jackson's nephew and private secre- 
tary, follows his wife's opinion. Jackson banishes them 
both to Tennessee until they learn better manners and 
realize who is boss in the Executive Mansion. Their exile 
does not end until near the close of Jackson's first term, 
and then only because the Cabinet has been reorganized, 
minus Eaton. 

Secretary Van Buren, a widower, diplomatic in society 
as well as in politics, is decidedly pro-Eaton. He goes out 
of his way to be publicly gracious to Peggy; and at state 
dinners he beams upon her, while the wives of other sec- 
retaries ignore her as though she has smallpox. The Cab- 


inet ministers, threatened with dire reprisals at home, can 
do nothing less than raise their brows in disapproval of 
the marked attention which President Jackson, Secretary 
Van Buren, and Sir Charles Vaughn, British Minister and 
unmarried, pay to Mrs. Eaton at public gatherings. 

Late in the Autumn of 1829, Baron Krudener, Russian 
Minister and also a bachelor, gives a ball to the Cabinet. 
Mrs. Ingham, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury, de- 
clines to attend, so the Baron escorts Peggy, who is next 
in rank. It falls to the lot of Secretary Eaton to take the 
arm of Madame Huygens, wife of the Dutch Minister. 
The honorable lady from Holland refuses to sit beside 
Mrs. Eaton at the table. She bounces out of the dining- 
room with a great flourish of resentment. Her noisy peev- 
ishness all but wrecks the ball. 

Jackson hears a report that Madame Huygens has de- 
clared she will give a ball at which the upstart and hussy 
shall not be invited. Mrs. Branch, wife of the Secretary 
of the Navy; Mrs. Berrien, wife of the Attorney General, 
and Mrs. Ingham announce they will do the same. The 
President declares to Van Buren that, if the report of 
Madame Huygens's threat is true, he will demand the re- 
call of the Dutch Minister. An international incident is 
avoided by Van Buren obtaining a denial of the report 
from Minister Huygens. 


Jackson's next step is to call his recalcitrant Ministers 

to account and threaten them with dismissal unless they 

can arrange their social affairs to include Secretary and 

Mrs. Eaton. Postmaster General Barry appears to be 


12 3 4 

John H. Eaton Samuel D. Ingham Martin Van Biiren John Branch 

Secretary of War Secretary of the Secretary of State Secretary of the 
Treasury Navy 


A cartoonist, contemporary with Jackson's reign, portrays 
the collapse of the President's Cabinet, due to the scandal 
over ]Mrs. Eaton. Jackson's foot on Van Buren's tail is not 
without political significance of the period. 


neutral. It is probable that Jackson wished Ingham, 
Branch and Berrien to resign following the rebuke, and 
thus save the Administration the embarrassment of a Cab- 
inet crisis. But the Ministers elect to remain. Later on, 
Jackson allows the blame of starting *'the Eaton malaria," 
as Van Buren calls it in his ''Autobiography," to rest be- 
tween Vice President Calhoun and Clay. Jackson is now 
convinced that Calhoun is *'the great intriguer." 

It is true that Calhoun yearns to be President. He would 
step into the White House by fair means if possible, by 
foul if he must. Jackson's advisers, particularly Major 
Lewis, have aroused the President's suspicions against 
Calhoun. They have already decided that Van Buren shall 
succeed Jackson, but not until Old Hickory has served a 
second term. 

Van Buren — the ''Red Fox of Kinderhook" — takes full 
advantage of his unique position. He frequently break- 
fasts with the President and goes riding with him before 
they start the day's business. Van Buren is sly. By neither 
sign nor signal does he lead Jackson to think that he, 
Martin Van Buren, is angling for the succession. He is 
aware that the President desires none in his Cabinet who 
have Presidential aspirations. So Van Buren, as far as 
Jackson is concerned, has none. And Martin's astonishing 
modesty in this connection convinces Jackson that none 
other than Van Buren shall succeed him. 

In all of this, Calhoun is plainly left out in the cold. The 
South Carolinian has about made up his mind that it is 
time to crash the gates. But the President's Kitchen Cab- 
inet is aware of what is going on in Calhoun's mind. They 
have already mounted their artillery and are prepared, at 



the proper time, to blow Calhoun's Presidential dreams 
into a nightmare. 

President Jackson's definite break with Calhoun comes 
in 1830. It had been brewing for many years. There was a 
time, — when Calhoun was Secretary of War in the latter 
part of Monroe's term, and Jackson was conducting the 
Seminole War in Florida, — that Old Hickory believed 
Calhoun was his friend. It will be recalled, however, that 
at a secret Cabinet meeting in 18 18, Calhoun recommended 
to Monroe that Jackson be censured for his abuse of power 
in Florida. It will be remembered that Adams took Jack- 
son's part, and there the matter rested. Letters have since 
come to light, and are duly placed in Jackson's hand, show- 
ing that Calhoun was not the General's friend in 181 8. 
Jackson calls it the deepest duplicity. The weightiest evi- 
dence possible to obtain, short of a statement from former 
President Monroe, is garnered by the foes of Calhoun. It 
comes from William H. Crawford, Monroe's Secretary of 
the Treasury. Crawford, having missed out on the Presi- 
dency himself, does not now care who attains it. He tells 
what he knows of that secret Cabinet session. It is too 
much for Jackson to endure with equanimity. 

Moreover, Calhoun's conduct toward Mrs. Eaton, 
coupled with the bitter hostility of Mrs. Calhoun, serves 
to convince Jackson that the Vice President all along has 
been at the bottom of that affair in order that he might 
embarrass the Administration by forcing a scandal upon it 
and elevate his own Presidential stock. It is not likely that 
Calhoun is guilty of this double-dyed duplicity as Jackson 
views it. He possesses many statesmanlike qualities which, 
however, are often blurred by his consuming ambition 



that causes him to do petty and frequently questionable 

Only the Constitution prevents Jackson from banishing 
Calhoun. As he regrets his inability to remove the Vice 
President, he also resolves to make that gentleman's ex- 
istence exceedingly burdensome. For two years Jackson 
and Calhoun carry on their warfare within the official 
circle. Calhoun's friends charge Van Buren with causing 
the break. The Secretary of State stoutly denies it. Martin 
probably has nothing to do with it. But he profits hand- 
somely by it. The Kitchen Cabinet, not the official one, is 
the real power behind the Jackson throne. 

In the next year, 1831, the President dismisses his 
Cabinet. The Ministers and their wives are still untractable 
with regard to Mrs. Eaton. The General, weary of the af- 
fair and not accustomed to being defied, turns them all out. 
Those who are reluctant to resign he ''fires" with little 
ceremony. Van Buren is to become Minister to the Court 
of St. James's. Eaton is named Governor of Florida. He 
will be appointed Minister to Spain in 1836. But in 1840 
he will turn against Van Buren and support the enemies of 
Andrew Jackson, who then will say of his one-time 
friend : ''He is the most degraded of all the apostates fed, 
clothed and cherished by the Administration." Eaton dies 
in 1856. Peggy, of many memories, dies in Washington 
in 1878. 

Early in his Administration, Andrew Jackson, a per- 
plexed, sick and lonely old man, writes to his brother-in- 
law. Captain John Donelson, back in Tennessee : 



''What satisfaction to me to be informed that you had 
visited the Hermitage and tomb of my dear departed 
wife. How distressing it has been to me to have been 
drawn by pubHc duty from that interesting spot where 
my thoughts deHght to dwell, so soon after this heavy 
bereavement to mingle with all the bustle, labor and care 
of public life, when my age, my enfeebled health and con- 
stitution forewarned me that my time cannot be long upon 
earth. . . . 

"Could I but withdraw from the scenes that surround 
me to the private walks of the Hermitage, how soon would 
I be found in the solitary shades of my garden, at the 
tomb of my dear wife, there to spend my days in silent 
sorrow, and in peace from the toils and strife of this life, 
with which I have been long since satisfied. But this is 
denied me. I cannot retire with propriety. When my 
friends dragged me before the public, contrary to my 
wishes, and that of my dear wife, I foresaw all this evil, 
hilt I was obliged to bend to the wishes of my friends. . . . 
My political creed compelled me to yield to the call, and 
I consoled myself with the idea of having the counsel and 
society of my dear wife; and one term would soon run 
round, when we would retire to the Hermitage, and spend 
our days in the service of our God. . . .*' 

The President will drop into this mood many, many 
times in the stormy years that still await him as Chief 
Executive. He has still to humble several of the mightiest 
influences and institutions in the land. Frail in body, with 
a deep ominous cough, too ill many a day even to go to his 
office, he keeps in constant touch with the affairs of gov- 



ernment and the speeches in Congress, which his Kitchen 
Cabinet report to him in extenso. 

The President is taking a good look at his enemies as 
they stand in the white Hght of poHtical preferment. He is 
making up his mind whom he shall topple next. 


Chapter XXVI 

JACKSON'S advisers have resolved they will not per- 
mit the "Eaton malaria" to occupy the w^hole atten- 
tion either of the President or of the country. Two years 
must pass between the outbreak of that scandal and the 
dissolution of the Cabinet, which will not occur until Jack- 
son and Calhoun fight their battle of words. This will re- 
sult in Jackson's invariable triumph, throwing Calhoun 
into the opposition and bringing John perilously near to 
the hangman's halter on a charge of treason. We are now 
concerned with happenings prior to the Cabinet crisis. 

Congress has assembled — the first of Jackson's Admin- 
istration. The House, elected with Jackson, is obedient to 
his will. Many of the major issues destined to be identified 
with Jacksonian Democracy first appear at this session. 
The President does not wait long before showing his hand. 
The isues are the tarifif, internal improvements, the public 
debt, state's rights, the first warning of the South of seces- 
sion because of its bitter opposition to the tariff (this 
hostility taking the form of Nullification), and Jackson's 
initial threat to crush the Second Bank of the United 
States and substitute a federal bank as an adjunct of the 
United States Treasury. 



The Second Bank had obtained its charter in 1816 over 
the opposition of President Madison. This charter was for 
a period of twenty years and therefore would expire in 
1836. It appears that the initial aversion to the Bank ap- 
peared during and after the Revolution when torrents of 
paper money were issued, and which sunk in value to 
nothing. In many sections of the country, particularly in 
the West, people had so little confidence in Alexander 
Hamilton's finance scheme that they preferred to use land, 
whisky, guns and cow-bells as specie rather than handle 
paper money. As the Bank became influential and boasted 
a huge capital, the prejudice of the masses against it did 
not abate. 

Serious charges were leveled at the Bank. It was be- 
lieved to have used its great influence in manipulating 
politics by supporting office-seekers committed to its per- 
petuity. It was accused of withholding credit to small mer- 
chants and agriculturists if such credit could not be 
converted into political assets that would place the Bank 
in a position of strength at least equal to any Administra- 
tion that happened to be in power. The_Barik^in_inost 
particulars, was a rich man's institution, chiefly concerned 
with perpetuating the interests of that class at the expense 
of tenant farmers and wage earners. 

When Jackson was elected in 1828, the Bank was power- 
ful. Its capital was thirty-five millions ; the government's 
money in its vaults totalled about seven millions ; its private 
deposits were about six millions more ; it had about twelve 
millions in circulation; its discounts were about forty 
millions a year, and its profits about three millions annu- 
ally. The parent Bank was in Philadelphia where it oc- 



cupied a great marble palace. It required the services of a 
hundred clerks in Philadelphia, and more than five hundred 
throughout the country to serve its twenty-five branches in 
cities and towns. Each branch had its own president, 
cashier and board of directors. Its credit was unquestioned. 
A fifth of its stock was owned by foreigners; women, 
orphans and trustees of charity funds held large blocks. 

The general board of directors embraced twenty-five 
men of high financial standing, five of whom were ap- 
pointed by the President. The Bank and its branches re- 
ceived and disbursed the entire revenue of the nation. The 
guiding spirit of this great establishment is Nicholas Bid- 
die, once a Philadelphia lawyer and later editor of a lit- 
erary magazine. Monroe had appointed him Government 
Director of the Bank in 1819, and in 1823 he was elected 
president by unanimous vote. 

Biddle already had won the title of ''Emperor Nicho- 
las" when Jackson entered the White House. The title, as 
well as the institution, was obnoxious to that great horde 
of plebeians — seekers of liberty and democracy — who 
threw their hats into the air and shouted "Hurrah for 
Jackson." The masses, being poor, were soon able to con- 
jure up an eloquent hatred of the Bank, which was rich. 
The animosity was predicated upon the belief that it had 
come to its wealth through the exploitation of the poor. 

The Bank was not a prominent issue in the campaign of 
1828. It is not likely that Jackson gave it much thought 
until two months after he was seated, and the manner in 



which this came about was accidental. Ike Hill, of New 
Hampshire, one of Jackson's favorites and a member of 
the Kitchen Cabinet, is second Comptroller of the Treas- 
ury. He came to Washington firmly convinced that all who 
were not friends of Jackson should be turned out of office. 
Hill is utterly loyal to his chief. He had been a starving 
printer, turned editor. He was lame and unprepossessing. 
But a more zealous fighter for principles never held an 
official post. He loved his country and his friends. 

The first tilt with the Bank occurred in the first few 
months of Jackson's rule. Hill objected to the appoint- 
ment of Jeremiah Mason, friend of Adams and Webster, 
as president of the branch bank at Portsmouth, New 
Hampshire. He thought the place should go to a friend of 
the Administration. For more than two months, Hill 
carried on a war against Mason, whom he accused of re- 
fusing small and safe loans to business men in New 
Hampshire, while loaning large sums outside the state 
at greater risk. Hill is able to get fifty-six members of the 
New Hampshire legislature to sign a petition, calling for 
Mason's removal. 

Secretary of the Treasury Ingham directs the attention 
of Emperor Nicholas to the dispute. United States Senator 
Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, joins Hill in the 
campaign against Mason. Hill also weakens Mason's 
props by demanding the removal of the Pension Agency 
from the branch at Portsmouth to Concord. Secretary of 
War Eaton falls in with the scheme and directs Mason to 
deliver up all books and records to the new pension agent 
who will reside at Concord- Mason advises Emperor 


Nicholas that he will disregard the order of the Secretary 
of War, and will await further orders from Philadel- 

Emperor Nicholas departs for Portsmouth where he 
investigates the charges against Mason. He reports to Sec- 
retary Ingham that Hill's charges are groundless. Mason 
is re-elected president of the branch bank at Portsmouth. 
Thus the Administration has been defied by the Bank. 
Jackson takes note of this. The Bank is doomed. The die 
is cast. Emperor Nicholas might have saved his Bank had 
he been as astute in politics as he was able in finance. He 
has been handling money for so long that he imagines it 
is both sweet music and artillery. But he has gone too far. 
He has crossed the Rubicon and challenged not Ike Hill, 
nor Eaton, nor Ingham, but Andrew Jackson. There is 
vinegar in the nectar that the Emperor drinks from the 
cup of victory when he returns to the marble palace in 


Congress is in session. Friends of the Bank in both the 
Senate and the House are chortling over the triumph of 
Emperor Nicholas. They listen to the President's mes- 
sage. The President advocates a single term of four or 
six years. He upholds the wholesale removal of Adams 
men, declaring the office-holder has no more right to his 
office than the office-seeker. He adds that a long tenure is 
almost necessarily corrupting. He says the 1828 tariff has 
not benefited manufactures, neither has it injured agri- 
culture and commerce. Modifications are recommended, 



which should be considered not as party or sectional ques- 
tions. This is directed at the South, in revolt against the 
tariff, which is view^ed in that quarter as stifling and 
virtually throwing the burden of the support of the gov- 
ernment upon southern agriculturists. 

The finances of the republic, says the President, are in a 
satisfactory condition. The Treasury holds nearly six mil- 
lions; he estimates receipts for 1830 at twenty-four mil- 
lions six hundred thousand, and expenditures at a little 
more than twenty-six millions. More than twelve millions 
of the public debt have been paid, leaving forty-eight and 
a half millions still to be paid. When this debt shall have 
been wiped out, says the message, then the issue will arise 
whether the surplus revenue should not be apportioned 
among the states for works of public utility, and thus end 
the question of internal improvements. The" President is 
unalterably opposed to appropriating money for the build- 
ing of roads and canals, of which the country is badly in 
need, as long as the public debt remains unsettled. Also, 
he rejects every suggestion of the government advancing 
money to private stock companies or contractors for in- 
ternal improvements. This, also, he regards as inviting 

At the close of the message appears the big jolt. He 
calls for the consideration by Congress of the question of 
granting a new charter to the Bank in 1836. ''Both the 
constitutionality and the expediency of the law creating 
this Bank are well questioned by a large portion of our 
fellow -citizens ; and it must be admitted by all, that it has 
failed in the great end of establishing a uniform and 



sound currency." Jackson suggests *'a national one, 
founded upon the credit of the government and its rev- 

Emperor Nicholas begins to see the handwriting on the 
v^all. His satellites in Congress are panicky. Jackson men 
in both houses are jubilant, and Ike Hill has succeeded in 
writing his hostility to the Bank in a Presidential Mes- 
sage. Major Lewis and Amos Kendall, without a doubt, 
wrote, edited and revised that document before it was 
given to Congress. But every word of it expressed the 
personal views of Jackson and said what he would have 
written had he been able to compose a state paper. 


Andrew Jackson fills his pipe and settles down in a big 
rocking chair drawn up before a blazing grate in one of 
the smaller rooms of the Executive Mansion. A shawl 
drapes his shoulders, for the Mansion is chilly. Either 
Major Lewis, or Donelson attend every session of Con- 
gress and report back to Jackson what is going on, who is 
talking and what was said. Jackson, like all Presidents, is 
annoyed by the sputterings in Congress. 

The Senate turns its attention to the President's nom- 
inations, and the most conspicuous rejection is that of Ike 
Hill. The Bank has decided Hill must go. Jackson regards 
the slight to Hill as a personal affront, because Hill is his 
friend and one of his advisers. Therefore, Jackson de- 
cides that the Senate shall be taught a lesson. 

The skill of Kendall is now called upon. Kendall is one 
of the most versatile country editors that ever held an 
important post at Washington. The confirmation of 



Kendall's nomination as Fourth Auditor of the Treasury 
is accomplished only by the deciding vote of the Vice 
President. Kendall prepares an article at Washington 
on Hill's rejection by the Senate. It is written from the 
point of view of being a personal affront to Jackson, and 
is for publication in the "New Hampshire Patriot," Hill's 
old newspaper. A copy of the article is given to Duff 
Green for his ''Telegraph" in Washington, and other 
copies are sent to pro-Jackson papers throughout the 
country. The article is supposed to have originated in 
New Hampshire. Kendall, more than once, will supply 
Jackson papers with "Washington news." Hence, Kendall, 
a federal official, actually is the Administration's press 
agent. The Jacksonians are the first to recognize the power 
of the press and utilize it for their own ends. Political 
cartoons likewise come into flower under the Jackson 
regime, but Andrew suffers from this innovation quite as 
much as his enemies. Not all artists are Democrats. 

Kendall's article to the "New Hampshire Patriot" has 
its effect. The Jackson men in that state are aroused. The 
term of Senator Woodbury — Jackson man — is about to 
expire, and he is informed that it will be to his advantage 
not to seek re-election, but to yield in favor of Ike Hill. 
The trick works perfectly. At the election in the Spring, 
Hill wins the Senatorship. In due time he returns to Wash- 
ington as a member of the body that rejected him as a 
clerk in the Treasury Department. The victory is entirely 
Jackson's, It is more than this. It is a warning to the Bank 
of the United States that its days are numbered. 

Jackson is proving himself to be an adroit politician as 
well as a skillful military commander. Surrounded as he is 



with able advisers (outside of his Cabinet Ministers, 
whom he rarely consults, excepting Van Buren), in no 
sense does he make his will subservient to theirs. 

Woodbury's sacrifice is recognized by Jackson. He is 
kept in reserve, and will be rewarded later on with a 
Cabinet position. Resolutions for and against the Bank 
are introduced at this session, but Emperor Nicholas be- 
lieves he has the upper hand. Congress also takes up the 
question — advocated by Jackson — of the removal of the 
Indians from the southern states to districts West of 
the Mississippi. The President, who knows the Indian 
temperament as no other man in the country could know 
it better, proceeds cautiously, but relentlessly, to drive the 
Red men from their familiar hunting grounds into the 
western wilderness. Considerable opposition is heard in 
Congress to this measure which, like every matter urged 
by Jackson, is made the subject of violent debate. ''Friends 
of Indians" spring up everywhere among Jackson's ene- 
mies. The Red men should feel flattered if they are able to 
read the speeches uttered in their behalf. 


The fire of the Nullification movement, which threatens 
to become a conflagration involving the very existence of 
the republic, is precipitated, like many great events in 
history, by the gathering of accidental kindling and the 
placing of it in the immediate area of inflammable ma- 
terial. Senator Samuel A. Foote, of Connecticut, intro- 
duces a harmless resolution calling for the suspension for 
a time of the sale of public lands. Senator Robert Y. 
Hayne, of South Carolina, one of the younger members 



whose idol is Calhoun, rises to speak on the Foote resolu- 
tion. Hayne thinks and dreams in oratorical patterns. 

The Tariff Bill, for which Jackson had voted in 1824, 
was obnoxious to the South, and the Tariff Bill of 1828 
was even more so. It had caused a depression in the market 
for southern produce and had created extreme discontent. 
South Carolina was not alone in protesting against the 
tariff. Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama 
registered their protests against it both through their repre- 
sentatives at Washington and in petitions directed to the 

In South Carolina, however, extreme language had 
been used ; one prominent citizen went so far as to say that 
it was time for the South to ''calculate the value of the 
Union." In the course of his address, Hayne declared : 'T 
afrfoneof those who believe that the very life of our sys- 
tem is the independence of the states, and that there is no 
evil more to be deprecated than the consolidation of this 
government." Jackson himself is an ar dent state 's rights 
man, but he is equally fervent in upholding the federal 
government and the Constitution in which it is mortised. 
Jackson had won his office by the aid of the State's Rights 
Party^'en, and it is possible that they believe they will re- 
ceive support from the Executive. They think wrongly. 
Webster appears on the Senate floor while Hayne is speak- 
ing, and the Senator from Massachusetts, who in no wise 
is a Jackson adherent, replies to Hayne in what will be re- 
garded a-s one of the most brilliant speeches of his career. 
A little later in the session Edward Livingston, Senator 
from Louisiana, sets forth boldly and bravely in an equally 
brilliant speech the attitude of the Administration with 



respect to the Nullifiers. It will fall to Livingston's lot 
still later, as Secretary of State, to frame Jackson's 
supreme challenge to Nullification. 

Jefferson's birthday had been celebrated in Washington 
for twenty years, and the occasion in April, 1830, has been 
decided upon by the Nullifiers as most propitious to chal- 
lenge the government and to "smoke out" Andrew Jack- 
son. There are many, however, who look upon Jackson as 
the exemplifier of Jefferson's principles which, by a twist 
of their own imagination, they somehow connect with 

General Jackson, Major Lewis, Van Buren and others 
among his close advisers, are convinced that the Jefferson 
birthday banquet has been selected not to do honor to the 
memory of the sage of Monticello, but to exploit the Nul- 
lification movement in the presence of Jackson, the Vice 
President, the Cabinet and the guests, and thus embar- 
rass the Administration. Jackson is not caught napping. 
He calls in Van Buren, Major Lewis and Donelson and 
submits to them several samples of toasts that he has writ- 
ten for the occasion. He asks their advice in the selection 
of one. It is decided that the Nullifiers are to be chal- 
lenged in their own tent. Consistent with Jackson, the ag- 
gressive course is decided upon. 


The hour for the banquet arrives. Virtually every toast 
of the twenty-four proposed hits squarely upon the subject 
of Nullification, for the banquet is packed with Nullifiers. 
Colonel Thomas H. Benton, Senator from Missouri who, 
long since, has made his peace with Jackson, attends the 



affair. Benton observes that many leave the hall, disgusted 
with the spirit of disloyalty to the Union and the deliber- 
ate affront to the President. 

After most of the speakers have become hoarse from 
long talking, and the regular toasts have been proposed, 
there comes the round of volunteer toasts ; there are more 
than eighty of these. 

Andrew Jackson is called upon. Voices in the ante- 
rooms cease to buzz. Stern silence falls upon the banquet 
hall. The President is on his feet. He draws himself up to 
his full stature. All faces are turned toward him, and all 
meet his gaze — all except Calhoun, who plays with his 
napkin. The pause is ominous. Jackson finally fastens his 
hawk-like eyes upon the figure of the Vice President. He 
raises his glass, and in a stern even voice he declares : 
''Our Federal Union: It Must Be Preserved." 

The reaction is electric. Not a man in the building, not 
one sitting at the banquet table mistakes his meaning. The 
toast immediately assumes the character of a proclamation 
announcing a plot to destroy the Union and summoning 
the people to its defence. 

Calhoun is next called upon. He says : 

*'The Union: Next to our liberty the most dear. May 
we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting 
the rights of the states, and distributing equally the bene- 
fit and burden of the Union." The significance of the Vice 
President's toast likewise leaves no doubt in the minds 
of the guests of his leadership of the Nullifiers. Jackson 
has suspected it for some time. 

Shortly after the banquet a South Carolina Congress- 
man calls upon Jackson, saying he is leaving for home and 



inquires if the General has any message for his South 
CaroHna friends. ''No, I beheve not," Jackson replies. 
The Congressman starts to depart when he is called back. 

"Yes, I have," says Jackson. "Please give my compli- 
ments to my friends in your state, and say to them that if 
a single drop of blood shall be shed there in opposition to 
the laws of United States, I will hang the first man I 
can lay my hand on engaged in such treasonable conduct, 
upon the first tree I can reach." 

The President vetoes the Maysville and Lexington 
Road Bill. In a lengthy Veto Message, he declares there 
shall be no more internal improvements until the national 
debt has been paid, and the Constitution revised, authoriz- 
ing appropriations for the construction of public works. 
He promises that in four years the debt will have been 
extinguished — "and how gratifying the effect of present- 
ing to the world the sublime spectacle of a republic, of 
more than twelve millions of happy people, in the fifty- 
fourth year of her existence — after having passed through 
two protracted wars, the one for the acquisition and the 
other for the maintenance of liberty — free from debt, and 
with all her immense resources unfettered!" 

Three other internal improvement bills are passed to- 
ward the end of the session. Two of these Jackson retains 
until after Congress adjourns, which is the equivalent of 
veto, and the third he returns to the Senate with his dis- 

It is in this year — 1830 — that Major Lewis drives in 
stakes for the re-election of President Jackson. Pennsyl- 
vania is selected by Lewis as the state where the move- 
ment for Jackson should first occur. Pennsylvania is 



chosen because Calhoun has considerable strength there, 
and Pennsylvania's action in indorsing Jackson for an- 
other term will have the effect of virtually sealing Cal- 
houn's political coffin, as far as the Presidency is con- 
cerned. So the astute Lewis drafts a letter, or rather a 
petition, addressed to Jackson, which is to be circulated 
among members of the Pennsylvania legislature and signed 
by them and forwarded to Jackson. Thus they are spared 
the bother of drawing up their own letter. The scheme 
clicks wonderfully. Sixty-eight legislators sign on the 
dotted line, begging Jackson, in a letter that Lewis wrote 
in the White House at Jackson's elbow, to please run 
again. Small political details of this nature President 
Jackson is willing to leave to the major-domo of the 
Kitchen Cabinet. 

There follows in rapid succession Jackson's break with 
Calhoun, of which the public is not apprised for some 
time later. The Eaton affair also has usurped public at- 
tention throughout all of this period. The question is 
raised both at home and abroad whether the experiment in 
democracy is not a failure in the United States, and 
whether a monarchical form of government might not be 
best, after all. Whisperings of these speculations reach 
the backwoods people, and the cry goes up among them 
that if a king is to rule in America he shall be none other 
than Emperor Andrew L 

Calhoun's break with Jackson leads Duff Green, editor 
of the "United States Telegraph," to sponsor the cause 
of the Vice President. It therefore becomes necessary for 
the Administration to establish its own mouthpiece to 
counteract Calhoun's paper. Kendall is ushered into the 



White House for a conference on this point, the upshot 
of which is : Francis P. Blair, formerly associated with 
Kendall on the ''Kentucky Argus," is drafted for Wash- 
ington service, and the "Globe" is established. It has 
neither money nor presses, but it possesses Blair, and that 
is enough. 

Blair fits into the Jackson mold perfectly. Every member 
of the Kitchen Cabinet exerts himself to drum up sub- 
scribers for the **Globe," which makes its bow on Decem- 
ber 7, 1830. Office-holders in Washington and elsewhere 
are given to understand that they are expected to sub- 
scribe, and to support the paper loyally. It is announced 
far and wide that the "Globe" is the official organ of 
Jacksonian Democracy, and the "Telegraph" is not. 
Major Lewis and Amos Kendall adjust matters so that a 
large part of the government printing is thrown to the 
"Globe," and taken away from the "Telegraph." A sup- 
porter of the Bank sends a donation of two hundred dol- 
lars. Blair learns where the money comes from and re- 
turns it. 

In a short time the "Globe" is self-supporting. Its in- 
fluence in keeping Jackson's name and his deeds before the 
public is tremendous. Jacksonian editors reprint its opin- 
ions as their own. Blair is worth more to the party than if 
he were Secretary of State, and his influence is greater. 

In December Congress is again in session. Jackson's 
message touches lightly upon the tariff question, but im- 
plores the people not to regard it as a sectional matter. 
The South is not impressed. The NuUifiers are more active 
than ever. They are merely biding their time. The spirit 
of secession has seized South Carolina. 



Jackson announces that eleven millions, three hundred 
and fifty- four thousand, six hundred and thirty dollars 
has been paid on the public debt, and that there is a bal- 
ance in the Treasury of four millions, eight hundred and 
nineteen thousand, seven hundred and eighty-one dollars. 
He repeats his warning against the Bank, and cites some 
of its abuses. It is at this session that Colonel Benton fires 
the Administration's first gun at the Bank. It is at this 
period that Jackson decides to oust all members of his 
Cabinet who have been unfair, untractable, and insolent 
in the Eaton affair. Ingham, Branch and Berrien — all 
Calhoun men — are thrown out. Hence, Calhoun has no 
more power within the Administration. He has nothing but 
his Vice Presidency — and he will not have that much 



Chapter XXVII 

IN the Spring of 1831, the President is surrounded by 
his new Cabinet. In the first place, Louis McLane is 
recalled as Minister to England, and Van Buren succeeds 
him. McLane had distinguished himself for his successful 
negotiations with the British Ministry for regaining the 
privilege of trading with the British West Indies in Ameri- 
can bottoms. Jackson properly considers this as one of the 
high lights of his policy in the handling of foreign affairs. 
Edward Livingston, able and cultured, becomes Secretary 
of State; McLane becomes Secretary of the Treasury; 
Lewis Cass, Governor of the Territory of Michigan, is 
Secretary of War; Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, 
is Secretary of the Navy; Roger B. Taney, Attorney Gen- 
eral of Maryland, and one of the Federalists who sup- 
ported Jackson in 1828, is named Attorney General ; Barry 
remains as Postmaster General. 

The new Cabinet is a vast improvement upon the former 
one. The opposition, however, imagines it sees Jackson's 
confession of weakness. ''Who could have imagined," 
writes Clay in retirement at his home in Ashland, Ken- 
tucky, ''such a cleansing of the Augean stable at Wash- 
ington?" A little later Clay, who is still blowing Presi- 



dential bubbles, has dreams of his ultimate victory. 'T 
think we are authorized, from all that is now before us, to 
anticipate confidently General Jackson's defeat. The ques- 
tion of who will be the successor may be more doubtful." 
Clay at this moment has no doubt. He is merely fishing 
for support for his delusion that he will be chosen. 

During the Summer and Autumn the country has been 
whipped into a frenzy over the determined attitude of the 
Nullifiers, and none knows when the explosion will occur 
in South Carolina. But Jackson is watching that state and 
its leader, Calhoun, with the eye of a lynx. 

Meanwhile, the Bank of the United States engages his 
attention. Emperor Nicholas is not idle, either. He knows 
whom he can depend upon in Congress on the question of 
re-charter. Clay, having recouped his fortune, lost in 
gambling, has returned to the Senate. The Emperor 
breathes easier in his marble palace in Philadelphia. He 
feels safe with Clay in Washington. 

Congress meets. "We are to have an interesting and an 
arduous session," wrote Webster to Clay in the previous 
October. ''An array is preparing, much more formidable 
than has ever yet assaulted what we think the leading and 
important public interests." Daniel means the Bank. He is 
almost a seer. The names of many political notables are 
called at this session. Among them are: Webster, Clay, 
William Marcy, Theodore Frelinghuysen, John M. Clay- 
ton, John Tyler, Robert Y. Hayne, John Forsyth, Felix 
Grundy, ,Hugh L. White, Benton, Hill. These are in the 
Senate. Tyler will become President of the United States. 
In the House are John Quincy Adams, former President ; 
Rufus Choate, Edward Everett, John Bell, James K. Polk. 



James Buchanan has just resigned to become Minister to 
Russia. Jackson's influence will linger with the electorate 
long enough to make both Polk and Buchanan Presidents. 

Congress sits in rapt attention while Jackson's mes- 
sage is being read. They expect him to say something 
about Nullification and the Bank. These most explosive 
subjects are omitted. The Iron Man in the White House, 
now sixty-four years old, enfeebled and ill most of the 
time, is employing military strategy. He has built his 
breastworks. His batteries are loaded and competently 
manned. He is drawing the enemy out into the open and 
toward his doom by maintaining a pregnant silence. 

Foreign affairs are dwelt upon; the condition of the 
nation's finances — the revenue during the year had reached 
the unprecedented sum of twenty-seven millions, ex- 
penditures exclusive of the public debt would not exceed 
fourteen million seven hundred thousand, while sixteen 
and a half millions had been paid on the public debt during 
the year; the recommendation that a local government be 
set up for the District of Columbia, which he urged 
should be represented by a delegate in Congress ; railroads, 
which had come into being only a few years previously 
with a line between Baltimore and Washington, causing 
statesmen to believe that the country's transportation 
problem had been solved — matters of this nature fill the 
President's message. 


The Senate confirms the nominations of Jackson's Cab- 
inet Ministers, but rejects that of Van Buren as Minister 
to Great Britain. The three conspirators — Clay, Calhoun 



and Webster — decided upon this course months in ad- 
vance. The transparent poUtical charges brought against 
Van Buren in his management of the Department of State 
have no relation to the real cause of his rejection except 
to screen it. The Three Wise Men are looking to the 
future. They believe they have destroyed Van Buren's 
chances of succeeding Jackson. They have only made that 
eventuality the more certain. Benton, nudging a Senator 
who votes to reject Van Buren, declares : ''You have 
broken a Minister and elected a Vice President." 

Nevv's of his rejection reaches Van Buren while he is a 
guest at a party given by Prince Talleyrand, now Minister 
at the Court of St. James's for Louis Philippe, the new 
King of France. Is Martin downcast? Not in the least. 
The "Red Fox of Kinderhook" clicks his heels and is 
merry at Talleyrand's party. He knows well enough that 
he has been thrown into the arms of Fortune — four years 
as Vice President and then — President. He cannot miss. 
Everyone sees this except the Three Wise Men, whose 
hatred of Jackson seems to have blurred their political 

While Congress is about to plunge into the Bank affair, 
Sam Houston arrives in Washington and adds a lighter, 
if painful, touch to the solemnity. Houston, who as a boy 
fought in Jackson's army at the Batde of Tallapoosa, has 
been Governor of Tennessee. He is Jackson's friend. Sam 
has had domestic troubles aplenty. He is broke, and, hear- 
ing that the Indians are to be removed into the West, he 
seeks a contract from the government to supply rations to 
the Red men about to be removed. Houston's price per 
Indian is eighteen cents a day. The Superintendent of In- 



dian Affairs, however, calls the bid absurd, saying the ra- 
tions may be supplied, at a profit, for less than seven cents. 
Jackson, eager to help Houston, v^ould give him the con- 
tract and risk the charge of aiding a grafter. The matter 
is aired in Congress, and Houston fails to get what he 
came for. But the thing must be evened up somehow, so 
Sam waits on a dark street for Congressman William 
Stanberry, of Ohio, who had been most bitter in opposing 
the contract, and assaults him unmercifully. In due course, 
Houston is reprimanded by the House. Also, he is tried in 
court for assault and battery and is fined five hundred dol- 
lars. Not even the author of the "Star Spangled Banner," 
who is his attorney, can save him. 

President Jackson refuses to see his old friend pun- 
ished. He orders the fine remitted, ''in consideration of 
the premises." To a friend, Jackson declares : "After a 
few more examples of the same kind, members of Con- 
gress will learn to keep civil tongues in their heads." Sam, 
who now bears the title of "The Big Drunk," is on his 
uppers. He is stung to the quick by the charge that he had 
attempted to be a grafter. He turns to the southwest, 
where the winds are unpolluted by politics. He is in Texas 
in 1832. Santa Anna leads his Mexicans against the 
Alamo and the massacre follows. Sam, who had learned 
the art of war under Jackson, is Commanding General in 
the war that ensues. Texas declares her independence 
from Mexico, which had refused Jackson's offer of five 
million dollars to purchase, and Houston carves out an 
empire over which he rules as President. Sam, "The Big 
Drunk," always devoted to the Union of the states, ever 
supported by the mighty power of Andrew Jackson, leads 



the delivery of Texas into the Union in 1845, and becomes 
her first United States Senator. His caning of a Congress- 
man, and the remission of his fine as a rowdy by Jackson, 
made him a national figure and provided him with a stage 
upon which he played the principal role in the drama of 
Texas, and then delivered the whole vast setting to the 


Congress turns its attention from the fortunes of Sam 
Houston to the fortunes of Biddle's Bank. The Bank's 
friends are in a quandary. 

One group favors pushing the issue of re-charter in the 
present session. They foresee that a majority can be 
mustered in both houses for the Bank, and it is a matter 
of now or never. Another group prophesies that, no matter 
if re-charter wins in Congress, Jackson will veto the bill, 
which its friends cannot carry by a two thirds vote. Em- 
peror Nicholas looks to Clay for guidance and gets it. The 
first battle is to be fought at this session. 

Meanwhile, the National Republicans (who will soon 
become known as Whigs) have assembled in convention at 
Baltimore and nominated Clay for President, and John 
Sergeant, of Pennsylvania, for Vice President. Both are 
acknowledged candidates of the Bank, and therefore repre- 
sent the financial interests of the country. They look for 
support from no other quarter, but they are confident in 
what they have. 

On January 9, Senator George M. Dallas, of Pennsyl- 
vania, presents a lengthy and solemn memorial to the 
Senate on behalf of the Bank, asking a renewal of its 



charter. Shrewd minds had combined in the writing of 
that paper, which Clay probably edited. If Congress, in its 
wisdom, it said, should decree the extinction of the Bank, 
the directors would do all in their power to aid in devis- 
ing new financial facilities. Could Courtesy and Humility 
bow more gracefully than this? Emperor Nicholas is all 
grace. He is more than that. He is a genius, for he has 
assembled the oratorical meteors of the nation and placed 
them in the halls of Congress where for six months they 
sing and chant the praises of the Bank. Ferocity, arro- 
gance and downright mean speech also play their part with 
the defenders and the opponents of the Bank. 

In the White House, sits an old and lonely man, smok- 
ing his pipe. He reads the same Bible that Rachel had read 
many an evening by the firelight while he was away at 
war; or maybe at home, polishing his pistols for the next 
fray — public or private. He looks long and tenderly at the 
miniature of his beloved dead. There is a knock at the 
door. The General says, ''Step in, sir." 

It is Major Lewis, or Donelson, just returned from the 
Capitol. Benton is making the speech of his career, de- 
molishing the Bank and the Emperor who rules over it. 
Ike Hill, too, has made a great speech. The General's face 
lights up with friendliness and admiration when these 
names are mentioned. Clay — Calhoun — Webster — ! his 
face grows dark and his deep blue eyes fill with fire and 
wrath. ''Major, we will crush them and their damned 
Bank — by the Eternal !" He whacks his desk with his fist. 
Then he seems to catch himself growing angry, and in a 
twinkling he is softer. He remembers that Rachel never 
liked to hear him swear, and she rarely saw him when he 



was hopping mad. And now he thinks that she, away, far 
away somewhere, sees and hears him — and he becomes 


Finally, Speaker Stephenson, anti-Bank, names a com- 
mittee to investigate the Bank. Four of the members are 
opposed to re-charter, three are Biddle men. The gentle- 
men pass a month at the marble palace in Philadelphia, and 
at the end of two months are unable to agree. They sub- 
mit three reports. The majority opposes re-charter. Two 
reports exonerate the Bank from all charge of miscon- 
duct. John Quincy Adams submits one of the reports 
single handed. Adams declares the Bank "has been con- 
ducted with as near an approach of perfect wisdom as the 
imperfection of human nature permits." For these cool 
and cultured words, Adams earns the lasting contempt of 
General Jackson. It develops in the course of the inquiry 
that the Bank has subsidized several newspapers and other- 
wise distributed its largess quite freely into political cor- 
ners — dark as well as bright. But the Administration can- 
not make capital out of these accusations, since it has done 

The bill to re-charter the Bank of the United States 
passes the Senate on June ii, by a vote of twenty-eight to 
twenty. The House takes similar action on July 3, by a 
vote of one hundred and nine to seventy-six. The next day 
the bill is laid before the President. He vetoes it and re- 
turns it to Congress within a week. 

The Veto Message is one of the longest that Jackson 
ever sent to Congress. In a word, his message might be 



summed up : Monopoly. He emphasizes that eight milHons 
of the Bank's stock is held by foreigners ; that a renewal 
of the charter raises the market value of that stock twenty 
or thirty per cent. Hence America will make a present to 
foreign stockholders of millions of dollars. 

If the United States is to bestow this monopoly then it 
should receive a fair price for it. Also, the act excludes 
competition. Others have offered to take a charter on more 
favorable terms. 

The bill, says Jackson, concedes to banks dealing with 
the Bank of the United States what it denies to individuals. 
"The Bank an d its brand 2esjia3;£.-e3:ect€d-atr-i[i^t€f€sr sepa- 
i:ate from that of the people," he declares. 

He asserts that the stock owned by foreigners can not 
be taxed, which gives such stock a value of ten or fifteen 
per cent greater than that held by American citizens. Al- 
though nearly a third of the Bank's stock is held by for- 
eigners, foreigners have neither voice nor vote in the 
election of its officials. The moneyed men of the nation 
are throttling the country by holding within their hands 
the republic's financial resources. 

Then follows a typical Jacksonian observation : Should 
the stock ever pass principally into the hands of the sub- 
jects of a foreign country, and we should become involved 
in a war with that country, the interests and feelings of 
the Bank's directors will be opposed to those of their 

"Experience should teach us wisdom," says the Presi- 
dent. "Most of the difficulties our government now en- 
counters, and most of the dangers which impend over our 
Union, have sprung from an abandonment of the legiti- 



mate objects of government by our national legislation, 
and the adoption of such principles as are embodied in this 

"Many of our rich men have not been content with 
equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us 
to make them richer by act of Congress. By attempting to 
gratify their desires, we have, in the results of our legisla- 
tion, arrayed section against section, interest against in- 
terest, and man against man, in a fearful commotion which 
threatens to shake the foundations of our Union. 

*Tt is time to pause in our career, to review our prin- 
ciples, and, if possible, revive that devoted patriotism and 
spirit of compromise which distinguished the sages of the 
Revolution, and the fathers of our Union. If we can not 
at once, in justice to the interests vested under improvi- 
dent legislation, make our own government what it ought 
to be, we can, at least, take a stand against all new grants 
of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prosti- 
tution of our government to the adyancement of the few 
at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise 
and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of 
political economy." 


In furnishing the basic ideas for this message, which 
Secretary Livingston and Amos Kendall probably wrote, 
Jackson approaches as closely as he ever approached to 
Jeffersonian principles. His is a far more militant de- 
mocracy. He lives in the present, and is a man of terrible 
realities. He ventures here the suggestion of political 
philosophy. It made the Bank men laugh. They have the 



message printed and circulated as a campaign document 
in behalf of Henry Clay. They say the message proves the 
Old Man is losing his mind. They do not yet perceive they 
are losing their bank. 



Chapter XXVIII 


IN August, the President, accompanied by Blair and 
Earle, the latter "the King's painter," leave Washing- 
ton for Nashville. Jackson pays his traveling expenses 
with gold. ''No more paper money, you see, fellow citizens, 
if I can only put down this Nicholas Biddle and his 
monster Bank," he remarks to friends. The President and 
his party remain at the Hermitage until October. While 
he communes with the spirit of Rachel, the bitterest cam- 
paign that has ever been waged takes the country by storm. 
Tons of pamphlets of all sizes and dealing with all man- 
ner of issues flood the country. The Bank disburses eighty 
thousand dollars — a stupendous sum in 1832 — in behalf 
of Clay's candidacy. The Democrats appear to have against 
them the best talent of the country. The business and 
financial titans are against Jackson. Leading citizens 
representing these groups fear financial paralysis and eco- 
nomic stagnation will ensue if Jackson is re-elected and 
pursues his warfare against the Bank, which they are cer- 
tain he will do. 



The Democratic convention meets at Baltimore. Jackson 
is duly nominated, with Van Buren as his running mate. 
The battle is on. Every conceivable charge is brought 
forth against Jackson. There is but one feature missing 
that distinguishes this campaign from 1828. Nothing is 
said about adultery. The Democratic press and campaign- 
ers are equally vehement and venomous. One or two 
Democratic papers, evidently bought off by the Bank, go 
over to the enemy. Jackson's friends believe he will win in 
a close race, while Clay and the Bank are certain that the 
country realizes the peril of the President's course and will 
repudiate him. 

The result astonishes Jackson and his party as much as 
it does the country. The General receives two hundred 
and nineteen electoral votes. Clay receives forty-nine. The 
popular vote is 707,217 for Jackson; 328,561 for Clay. 
Jackson carries sixteen states to Clay's six. 

With the approval of his policies thus secured, the 
President proceeds without delay to complete them. He 
is resolved to dispatch these major issues: the Bank must 
be crushed, root and branch, and a new system installed 
for the handling of the federal currency; Nullification 
must be destroyed as a doctrine, and the rebel states taught 
that secession is an offence against the vyhole Union; 
France must be forced to begin payment of an indemnity 
for losses to American vessels during the Napoleonic 
wars ; the national debt shall be wiped out. 

The President has scarcely received his second mandate 
from the people when South Carolina, which had withheld 
her vote from him and thrown it away on a hopeless can- 
didate, is aflame with the Nullification doctrine. For some 



time past this issue, as if by consent, had given precedence 
to the Bank dispute. Now it is Biddle's turn to give way to 
the NulHfiers, who hate the tariff, despise Andrew Jack- 
son and disHke the Federal Union. 

Nullification is not a new doctrine in the United States. 
When the Alien and Sedition laws were passed in 1798, 
at the instigation of President John Adams, the legisla- 
tures of Virginia and Kentucky adopted resolutions, of 
which Jefferson and Madison were the chief authors, de- 
claring that when the federal government assumed powers 
not delegated by the states, **a nullification of the act was 
the rightful remedy." The resolutions declared further, 
however, that the act nullified must be ^'palpably against 
the Constitution." Jackson, as a United States Senator in 
1798, voted against the Alien and Sedition Bill and de- 
nounced Adams as a tyrant. 

South Carolina in 1832, however, puts its own con- 
struction upon the resolutions of 1798. It holds that any 
state may nullify any act of Congress which it deems 
unconstitutional. Calhoun, the idol of his state, proposes 
nullification of the Tariff Law, through the operation of 
which the nation must secure its revenue, merely because 
the Tariff Law is objectionable to South Carolina. That 
state, therefore, has arrogated to itself the right to dictate 
to the Union the kind of laws it shall have so that South 
Carolina might be pleased, other states notwithstanding. 
Calhoun and the Nullifiers go even further. They assert 
the Supreme Court may not pass upon the matter because 
the Supreme Court is the creature of the majority, the 



same as Congress ; and the object of Nullification is to re- 
sist the encroachments of the majority on the question of 
the Revenue Law. 

South Carolina is not alone in upholding the Nullifica- 
tion doctrine. North CaroHna, Virginia and Georgia favor 
it, but only to the extent of petitioning Congress for a 
redress of their grievances. Not one of these states sup- 
ports South Carolina in its extreme attitude. 

President Jackson's comment to a friend is this : *'If 
this thing goes on our country will be like a bag of meal 
with both ends open. Pick it up in the middle or endwise, 
it will run out." 

The depressed South looks with envious eyes upon the 
prosperous North. Everywhere in the North cities and 
towns are springing up, and the wilderness of western 
New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois is vanishing with 
the steady stride of plowmen and surveyors. Factories 
seem to grow like mushrooms and a new condition of 
labor is brought into being. 

The factory worker has appeared, and with him the 
clerk. And these w0rlaii€ii-areaijQti)Qnd^sery^rits^ 
South, .In the South, cotton and tobacco, their chief 
products, are down. Corn, wheat and pork likewise are 
depressed in market value. The South contends that the 
prices of the products which it has to sell rise too slowly 
to make up for the increased price of the commodities 
which it has to buy. It virtually gives up in despair. There 
is not even enough energy to find original names for their 
new towns. The maps of the Old World are consulted, and 
new American communities are named Utica, Rome, 
Naples, Berlin, Palermo, Madrid, Paris, Elba and Egypt. 



In Alabama many of the counties are named after the 
scenes of Napoleon's battles. 

There is yet another reason for the apparent desola- 
tion and disquiet in the South. Slavery! In the North, 
every one may go to his labor without loss of pride. In the 
South, white men may not offer their hands to manual 
toil, for that is the lot of the Negro. The South in 1832 is 
beset with pride. The North in 1832 whistles as it works 
and is rewarded with progress. The South steadfastly re- 
fuses to beheve that slavery is a liability instead of an 
asset. It refuses to see that an inherent economic weakness, 
partly produced by compulsory labor, is an affliction 
neither engendered nor aggravated by the Tariff Law. 

John Tyler, whom the accident of death will make a 
President, declares the protective tariff is the cause of the 
South's calamity and decay. '*We buy dear and sell cheap." 
The tariff, he asserts, diminishes the demands for the 
South's products abroad, and raises the price of all it must 
buy to live. This is the cry of the South and the cause of 
the Nullification doctrine which Andrew Jackson is now 
called upon to face on the eve of his second term. 

It is quite possible that Jackson and his closest advisers 
are too willing to view Nullification as a personal issue be- 
tween Calhoun and the President. They accuse Calhoun of 
seeking to rise upon the ruins of his country and reigning 
in South' Carolina rather than serving the republic. They 
say he began it and continues it. To his dying day, Jack- 
son will express his regret that he did not have Calhoun 
hanged for treason. **My country would have sustained 



me in the act/* Jackson will say on the brink of the grave, 
"and his fate would have been a warning to traitors in 
all time to come." Is Calhoun such a terrible fellow? In 
Washington he has a reputation of being amicable, gra- 
cious and fascinating. His rivals hate him because they 
fear him. There are legions who love him and would fol- 
low him anywhere. 

It is early Autumn. The South Carolina legislature calls 
a convention of citizens to consider the Tariff Law and to 
suggest a course to be pursued by the state. The conven- 
tion meets November 19, at Columbia. One hundred and 
forty-five delegates are present. Respectability is every- 
where in evidence. In the course of its labors, the conven- 
tion adopts an Ordinance, the substance of which is that 
the Tariff Law so far as it affects South Carolina is null 
and void, and that no duties enjoined by that law shall 
be paid by.Jiie state after February i, 1833. Also, it will 
not permit any appeal to be made to the Supreme Court on 
the question of the validity of the expected Nullifying Act 
of the legislature. If the government attempts to enforce 
the Tariff Law in South Carolina by means of military 
or naval force, then the state no longer will consider her- 
self a member of the Federal Union, but will organize a 
separate government and proceed to the business of self- 

In December, Robert Y. Hayne is elected Governor, 
and his seat in the Senate is promptly snapped up by Cal- 
houn, who resigns the Vice Presidency three months be- 
fore his term expires. Governor Hayne's first message to 
the legislature is what might be expected, since he was 
chosen by Nullifiers. His remarks are belligerent and ex- 



treme, containing considerable reference to ^'the sacred 
soil of Carolina" and what she will do if ''the sacred soil 
should be polluted by the footsteps of an invader, or be 
stained with the blood of her citizens/* 

The legislature passes acts for carrying the Ordinance 
into effect, and the Governor is authorized to accept the 
services of volunteers. The state is preparing for war. 
Even the women are showing their colors. Calhoun is 
spoken of as the 'Tirst President of the Southern Con- 
federacy." Thus the South has anticipated the advent of 
old Jeff Davis by some thirty years and seems to be bent 
on robbing him of his role. 

The Nullifiers, now embarked upon their warlike course, 
seem to have reckoned without regard for one of the most 
persistent and purposeful of men who ever have occupied 
the Presidency. Hayne should know better, for his brother, 
Arthur, was Inspector-General under Jackson in the War 
of 1812. Despite the utter lack of anything approaching 
adequate transportation and communication facilities, 
Jackson is kept fully informed by couriers on horseback 
of all that is transpiring in the rebellious state; and two 
weeks in advance of the convention at Columbia, the 
President sent secret orders to the Collector of the Port 
at Charleston, instructing that official to "resort to all 
means provided by the law," aided by a fleet of revenue 
cutters, ''to counteract the measures which may be 

In addition to this, Jackson sends General Winfield 
Scott on a secret mission to Charleston to superintend the 
safety of the ports, and to ascertain what troops and naval 
forces may be required to put down a possible rebellion. 




Congress meets on December 3. In the President's mes- 
sage virtually no mention is made of South Carolina. The 
nation's income for the year would reach twenty-eight 
millions, and the expenditures sixteen and a half millions; 
payments on the public debt, eighteen millions. Jackson 
tells Congress that on January i, 1833, less than seven 
millions will remain of the public debt, and this will be 
extinguished in the course of that year. He requests Con- 
gress to revise the tariff so as to reduce the revenue to the 
necessities of government ; but the manufacturing iiiterests 
must not be injured. However, Jackson declares ''manu- 
facturing establishments can not expect that the people will 
continue permanently to pay high taxes for their benefit, 
when the money is not required for any legitimate pur- 
pose in the administration of the government. Is it not 
enough that the high duties have been paid as long as the 
money arising from them could be applied to the common 
benefit in the extinguishment of the public debt?" Obvi- 
ously this pronouncement is intended to meet the Nullifiers 
half way. 

Jackson again reverts to the question of the Bank of the 
United States. He asks that an inquiry be instituted to 
ascertain if the public deposits in Emperor Nicholas's 
marble palace are entirely safe. He recommends that the 
federal government relinquish the ownership of public 
lands to the states within whose borders they may be, 
urging that public lands should no longer be made a source 
of revenue, but should be sold to actual settlers, in small 
parcels, at a price sufficient to pay the cost of surveying 



and selling. Thus Jackson aids in settling the western do- 
main and ''planting it with men," which was the policy 
of King James I toward the North of Ireland, and re- 
sulted in Jackson's Scotch ancestors founding a homestead 
in Carrickfergus. 

Once more he recommends that the President and Vice 
President be elected by direct vote of the people and their 
tenure limited to a single term. While Congress listens 
to this placid message it does not know that Jackson with 
his own hand has written an immortal document, a chal- 
lenge to South Carolina, whose proceedings published in 
a pamphlet have reached him and aroused all the fire of 
his tempestuous nature. It is the famous Proclamation. 
Secretary Livingston takes the President's large sheets 
and revamps the text into a state paper. It bears the date 
of December lo. It is at once an argument, an entreaty, a 
warning and a challenge. 

The President, in his Proclamation, concedes that the 
Tariff Law complained of does not operate equally. ''The 
wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation 
that would operate with perfect equality," he asserts. "If 
the unequal operation of law makes it unconstitutional, 
and if all laws of that description may be abrogated by any 
state for that cause, then indeed is the Federal Constitu- 
tion unworthy of the slightest effort for its preservation." 
Jackson forcefully denies the right of a state to secede. 
/""^'l consider," he declares, "the power to annul a law of 
/ the United States, assumed by one state, incompatible with 
/ the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the 
^ letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, incon- 
( sistent with every principle on which it was founded, and 
^ 359 


destructive of the great object for which it was formed." 
''The Constitution of the United States," he affirms, 
"forms a government, not a league; and whether it be 
formed by compact between the states, or in any other 
manner, its character is the same. It is a government in 
which all the people are represented, which operates di- 
rectly on the people individually, not upon the states; 
they retain all the power they did not grant. But each 
state having expressly parted with so many powers as to 
constitute, jointly with the other states, a single nation, 
can not from that period possess any right to secede, be- 
cause such secession does not break a league, but destroys 
the unity of a nation; and any injury to that unity is not 
only a breach which would result from the contravention 
of a compact, but it is an offence against the whole 

"Fellow citizens of my native state ! (Perhaps the Presi- 
dent does not know he was born in North Carolina.) Let 
me not only admonish you, as the first magistrate of our 
common country, not to incur the penalty of its laws, but 
use the influence that a father would over his children 
whom he saw rushing to certain ruin. In that paternal 
language, with that paternal feeling, let me tell you, my 
countrymen, that you are deluded by men who are either 
deceived themselves, or wish to deceive you. . . . 

"The laws of the United States must be executed. I 
have no discretionary power on the subject — my duty is 
emphatically pronounced in the Constitution. Those who 
told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution, 
deceived you — they could not have deceived themselves. 
They know that a forcible opposition could alone prevent 



the execution of the laws, and they know that such op- 
position must be repelled. Their object is disunion, but be 
not deceived by names; disunion, by armed force is 
TREASON. Are you really ready to incur its guilt? If you 
are, on the heads of the instigators of the act be the dread- 
ful consequences — on their heads be the dishonor, but on 
yours may fall the punishment. . . ." 

The Proclamation rolls on — each word a peal of 
thunder, each paragraph a warning of bolts of lightning 
which are gathering behind the clouds of war that An- 
drew Jackson is prepared to loosen at the first overt act 
against the government of the United States. He is ex- 
hibiting himself in his best form as a patriot. 


What does the country think of this? Mass meetings 
are held throughout the North, indorsing Jackson's firm- 
ness. The boldness of the Proclamation has electrified the 
nation. Sickness, almost unto death, can not tame the fiery 
heart of this one hundred per cent American. 

The South Carolina legislature answers this challenge 
by calling upon the citizens of the state to ignore the *'at- 
tempt of the President to seduce them from their alle- 
giance," and to ''disregard his vain menaces." Governor 
Hayne issues a proclamation in the same key. The state is 
placed on a war footing, or nearly so. A red flag with a 
black star in the center is adopted as the ensign of the 
volunteer regiments. The flag of the United States is 
flown upside down. 

As the proclamation of Governor Hayne reaches Wash- 
ington, Jackson immediately sends a special message to 



Congress asking for an increase of his powers to meet 
the possible collision, scheduled to commence February i, 
less than six weeks off. A bill is prepared promptly and 
presented. It is known as the Force Bill. Meanwhile, Cal- 
houn arrives in Washington to take his seat as Senator. 
While leading the secession movement, he can still take the 
oath to uphold the Constitution, which he is striving to 
puncture with rebellion. Many of his former friends turn 
from him in disgust and contempt. After the message is 
read, Calhoun rises to speak. He declares he is still devoted 
to the Union, and that if the government were restored to 
the principles of 1798, the year of the muzzle law, he 
would not question its authority. 

The Force Bill is passed by both houses late in Febru- 
ary. No hostilities have occurred. Jackson watches South 
Carolina like a panther about to spring upon its quarry. 
At the first treasonable act he has decided to seize Cal- 
houn on the charge of high treason, and hang him. South 
Carolina's nullifying Congressmen may be similarly dealt 
with. Federal troops are in that state ready to strike. 
Jackson has expressed the wish that, as Commander-in- 
Chief of the Army and Navy, he might be permitted to 
take the field and personally lead them. The Old Warrior ! 
How he loves the smell of powder, and delights in the 
spectacle of the crushed and bleeding forms of his foes. 

But civil war is another matter. Accordingly, Jackson, 
without retreating a jot from his determination to put 
down rebellion should it occur, is willing to compromise in 
the matter of the Tariff Law. Accordingly, an Adminis- 
tration bill is prepared and introduced by Gulian C. Ver- 
planck, of New York, providing for the reduction of 



duties to the revenue standard. The Verplanck Bill is 
calculated to reduce the revenue thirteen millions of dol- 
lars, and to afford manufacturers about as much protec- 
tion as they had obtained under the Tariff Law of 1816. 
The bill thus destroys most of what Clay and the protec- 
tionists had obtained over a period of sixteen years. The 
business interests are panic-stricken. They foresee their 
profits gone glimmering. Unemployment and stagnation, 
they say, will result from this bill. 

The Verplanck Bill seems to meet the objections of 
South Carolina and the other southern states. Webster, 
standing firmly by Jackson on the Nullification issue, but 
opposed to him on the Bank, declares the Constitution is 
on trial, and that no Tariff Law should be passed as long 
as South Carolina challenges the sovereignty of the fed- 
eral government. At heart, this is Jackson's attitude ; but 
the President does not wish to risk a civil war if it can be 
averted with a little yielding. 

The business interests turn to Clay, and the Kentuckian 
drafts a Compromise Bill for the regulation of the tariff. 
The Clay Bill differs from the Administration measure 
chiefly in the fact that it proposes a gradual reduction of 
duties, and leaves the writing of a new tariff measure for 
a calmer day. 

Obviously, Verplanck's bill should please Calhoun, for it 
directly conciliates the Nullifiers. But Calhoun also wants 
to please Big Business, for he still hopes to be President 
some day. Moreover, he does not wish to break from 
Clay for that would isolate him completely. Also, he seeks 
a way out from his perilous position. So the zealous Nul- 
lifier turns thumbs down on his own state and votes for the 



Clay Compromise. The bill is passed, and Jackson, who is 
expected to veto it, signs it. Thus Andrew Jackson has 
postponed the Civil War for twenty-three years. 


It is Summer, 1833. Jackson is again regarded as the 
savior of his country. This time he has not won a war, 
but has averted one. He decides to travel and meet the 
people. Everywhere he is acclaimed. It is during this Sum- 
mer that he receives word of the death of his old friend, 
General John Coffee. The President's own health is pre- 
carious. Major Lewis and Donelson sometimes despair 
of the President finishing his term. He is afflicted with 
bleeding of the lungs — tuberculosis. 

Before he starts out on his tour he makes two important 
shifts in his Cabinet. Livingston is sent to France as Min- 
ister to force a settlement of the government's spoliation 
claims arising from the Napoleonic wars. Jackson is deter- 
mined that France shall begin to pay this debt before he 
leaves office. Four previous Administrations have failed 
even to get France to recognize the debt. But Jackson 
negotiates a treaty in which France stipulates to pay the 
United States five millions in six annual installments. 

The United States agrees to the reduction of duties on 
French wines. America fulfills her part of the treaty. 
France does nothing. Jackson is impatient. He will be re- 
quired to threaten France with war before she is willing 
to begin payment. Livingston goes on this errand. It is 
Jackson's firmness that brings France to terms and crushes 
the opposition at home in two years. 

Louis McLane, Secretary of the Treasury, and a Bank 



sympathizer, is moved to the State Department. WilHam 
J. Duane, Philadelphia lawyer, becomes Secretary of the 

In June, the President and his party travel northward. 
In Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, Elizabeth, New 
York, Boston and on through New England, the President 
receives the adulations of the people. 

Harvard College confers upon him the degree of Doctor 
of Laws, and one of the seniors addresses the President in 
Latin. The students applaud vociferously. The President 
does not know what it is all about and cares less. To him 
such a degree is an empty honor. A student seeks to make 
sport of Jackson and asks him to reply — in Latin. The 
President is slightly taken off his guard. He rises to his 
feet and says : 

'^E pluribus unum, my friends, sine qua non !" 

The embittered Adams writes in his Diary of the Har- 
vard incident. Ever afterward he refers to the President 
as Doctor Jackson. In his Diary, Adams spitefully writes : 
"Four fifths of his sickness is trickery, and the other fifth 
mere fatigue. He is so ravenous of notoriety that he 
craves the sympathy for sickness as a portion of his glory." 

But then, Adams was not present in the hotel in Boston 
where Jackson lay almost at death's door, bleeding in the 
lungs, and wondering if he would live until he reached 
Washington so that he might deliver the final and crush- 
ing blow to Mr. Biddle's Bank. 


Chapter XXIX 

BIDDLE refuses to believe the Bank is about to die. 
He has the attitude of a condemned man on the last 
night. Something must, something will, intervene to stay 
the hand of the executioner. But nothing does. The Bank 
has resented the charge of Benton and other Jackson lead- 
ers that it has spent its money freely among members of 
Congress to influence their votes for re-charter. Still, the 
sinister aspect of the relationship is common knowledge. 
Clay, an eminent lawyer, is the Bank's adviser both in the 
Senate and privately. Clay's eloquence and skill are costly. 
Jackson men can not be blamed for asserting that the 
Bank is Clay's most prosperous client. 

There is Webster — the great Daniel — writing to Em- 
peror Nicholas that he has rejected professional employ- 
ment against the Bank and adding: *T believe my retainer 
has not been renewed or refreshed as usual. H it be wished 
that my relation to the Bank should be continued, it may 
be well to send me the usual retainers." 

Two of the most powerful men who ever sat in the Sen- 
ate chamber are at the same time, attorneys for the Bank 
which Jackson is trying to crush as a matter of public 



policy. Jackson's tactics may be wrong, but the principle 
is correct. When the President charges that the Bank is a 
corrupt institution and that it should not be permitted to 
handle the government's deposits with which to employ 
members of Congress to defend it, he has reference to 
precisely what Webster's letter attests. 

Jackson is determined to deal the Bank a crippling blow 
before Congress meets, as he fears that Biddle will be able 
to command a two-thirds majority at the next session. 
Word goes forth from the White House to Blair's 
"Globe" and through that source to the Jackson press 
throughout the country that the Bank is insolvent. The 
market price of the Bank's stock drops six per cent as the 
result of the report. As a fact, the Bank is far from in- 
solvent. Jackson could easily satisfy himself on that point, 
but he does not take the trouble so to do. The first idea 
is fixed in his mind, and Biddle's statisticians are the last 
persons who will be able to remove it. 

President Jackson proposes to remove the government 
deposits from the marble palace and its twenty-five 
branches, and deposit the money in a similar number of 
state banks. Of course he does not intend actually to seize 
bags of currency — totalling nearly ten millions — from 
these banks and re-depositing the money. The government 
will simply cease depositing money with Biddle and draw 
out the balance in his vaults as the public service requires. 
Major Lewis is opposed to this plan. It is one of the few 
times that Lewis has disagreed firmly with his chief, and 
holds his ground. The men who are behind Jackson's plan 
are Blair, Kendall, Taney and Benton. The whole Cabinet, 
with the exception of Taney, opposes the drastic meas- 



ure. But Jackson's view of all his official advisers has 
been that they are mere bureau heads except when they 
agree with him. Then they are his Ministers. On many 
important measures he does not even consult them. 

Lewis tries to dissuade Jackson from the course he is 
about to take. Lewis foresees a panic if the financial 
system is radically disturbed, and he knows the blame will 
fall upon the President's head. Also, he fears that a panic 
might result disastrously to Van Buren's chances of suc- 
cession. Lewis is a far-sighted man; he has many more 
qualities of statesmanship than some of the statesmen who 
curl their lips and call him a wire-puller. Lewis asks Jack- 
son what he would do if Congress ordered him to leave 
the deposits in Biddle's Bank and move an impeachment 
should he touch them. 

''Under such circumstances," Jackson says with defiance, 
''then sir, I would resign the Presidency and return to 
the Hermitage." 

As Jackson returns from his Summer vacation tour in 
1833, ^^^ is determined upon his course with respect to 
the Bank. In due time. Secretary of the Treasury Duane 
receives a request from Jackson to appoint "a discreet 
agent" to proceed to various cities and consult with the 
heads of state banks upon the practicability of receiving 
the federal deposits. Jackson follows this with a long 
statement, more or less detailed, of how the plan is to be 
worked out if the state banks agree to take the govern- 
ment's money. The President already has decided that the 



''discreet agent" who will make this investigation will be 
Amos Kendall. 

Duane, a conservative Philadelphia lawyer, sizes up this 
scheme as the wildest financial chatter he has ever heard. 
He writes the President that it cannot be done, at least he 
is opposed to having a hand in it. The President replies 
that Duane does not have to take the responsibilty, that 
Jackson takes it himself, but that the job must be done 
through the Secretary of the Treasury. A series of letters 
pass between Jackson and Duane, with the result that 
Duane is relieved of his post. Meanwhile, Kendall has 
made his tour and presented his report. 

Jackson calls a meeting of the Cabinet in September. 
He assures his Ministers that the state banks are ready 
to receive the federal deposits. "Why, then, should we 
hesitate?" he asks. ''Why not proceed as the country ex- 
pects us to?" Kendall's report is given to the Cabinet to 
study. A week later, the President calls the Cabinet and 
solicits their view. None approves the removal of the de- 
posits except Taney. The President asks the Cabinet to as- 
semble on the morrow. At that session he reads to them 
the famous "Cabinet Paper," which reviews the history 
of his war against the Bank, and announces that he intends 
to take complete responsibility for the removal of the de- 

On the same day that Duane retires, the President 
shifts Taney, the Attorney General, to the Treasury De- 
partment as Secretary. Three days after he takes ofifice, 
Taney signs the order directing the government collectors 
and employees to deposit the government's money in the 



state banks designated. Benjamin F. Butler, of New York, 
Van Buren's friend, is named Attorney General. 

Shortly after the exit of Duane from the Cabinet, Blair 
writes in the "Globe" : "Mr. Duane was dismissed for 
faithlessness to his solemn pledges, and for the exhibition 
of bad feeling, which made him totally unfit for the station 
to which he had been elevated. He was not dismissed 
merely for refusing to remove the deposits." 

If there is honor among thieves, can the same be said of 
politicians? Blair brazenly misrepresents this incident and 
does Duane great injustice in order to serve Jackson and 
the party. Duane had the moral courage to stand up to 
Jackson and permit himself to be sacrificed rather than do 
an act as Secretary of the Treasury which, had he obeyed 
his master, might have won him the robes of a Supreme 
Court Justice. For Jackson never permitted personal serv- 
ice to him to go unrewarded. 

The Bank is incensed over Jackson's "Cabinet Paper," 
which is published in the Administration organs, but is 
not communicated to Congress. The Bank admits it has 
spent fourteen thousand dollars a year in "self-defence." 
Jacksonian editors seize upon this as substantiating their 
contention that the Bank is corrupt. Still, there is Kendall, 
an Auditor in the Treasury, and at the same time a paid 
writer for the "Globe" at eight hundred dollars a year, 
paid to him to defend the Administration. Jackson is 
shrewd. He surrounds himself with a group of gatling- 
gun press agents and provides them with government jobs, 
both to insure their loyalty and control their pens. He is 
the first President to utilize these newspaper "spokes- 



To meet the removal of government deposits, Emperor 
Nicholas adopts the policy of curtailment. He decides to 
decrease the loans of the Bank to the extent of the aver- 
age amount of public money held by it. The process is 
gradual, but is sufficient to cause similar curtailment on 
the part of those state banks which are not depositaries 
of the public money. This curtailment of loans all along 
the line brings a sharp and sudden reaction. There are 
many failures, much distress and general protest. Jackson 
holds to his course. 


The twenty-third Congress assembles on December 2, 
and from that day until June 30, 1834, virtually no 
subject is debated except the Bank. In his message, Jack- 
son points to the prosperity of the country. The govern- 
ment's receipts are thirty-two milHons, and the expendi- 
tures will not exceed twenty-five millions. The national 
debt has been reduced to a figure that will be discharged 
within the year. For the fifth time, Jackson urges the elec- 
tion of the President and Vice President by direct vote 
of the people, and for a single term. 

At this session, also, Jackson vetoes Clay's Land Bill, 
and again brings down upon his head the combined vi- 
olence of the opposition. Clay's bill provides for the dis- 
tribution among the states of the proceeds from the sales 
of public lands. Jackson was opposed to it from the day 
of its introduction. He contends, and rightly, that the bill 
would proiliote in every state a sinister interest in keeping 
up the price of land, so that each commonwealth might 
swell its own coffers at the expense of the actual settlers 



coming to purchase. Jackson declares that the labor of 
the settler alone gives value to land, and that the specu- 
lator contributes nothing but hardship for the settler. 

The laboring masses, and those about to drive new- 
stakes into the virgin soil and rear homesteads where 
once the wilderness maintained its primeval sway, again 
have cause to shout, ''Hurrah for Jackson." At many 
turns, the backw^oodsman in the White House portrays 
evidence of familiarity with social and economic causes 
and their effect. He is building for himself a monument, 
though he does not know it, that will endure perhaps for 
centuries, and be known as Jacksonian Democracy. 
Future politicians, seeking to emerge as statesmen, will 
lean upon this shaft. 

It is rather difficult for spectators in the crowded gal- 
leries of the Senate to decide which of the two wars — 
Clay versus Jackson, or the government versus the Bank — 
has precedence in the perfervid oratory. Clay at once opens 
fire. He introduces a resolution demanding that the Presi- 
dent be requested to transmit to the Senate the ''Cabinet 
Paper." In his reference to the Bank of the United States, 
Clay insists upon calling it the federal treasury, which is 
intended as a sneer at Jackson. The resolution is adopted, 
twenty-three to eighteen. Jackson storms when he hears 
of it. 

"I have yet to learn," he informs the Senate, "under 
what constitutional authority that branch of the legisla- 
ture has a right to require of me an account of any com- 
munication, either verbally or in writing, made to the 
heads of departments acting as a Cabinet council." 

This blunt defiance of the Senate's equally blunt re- 



quest is followed by another resolution introduced by 
Clay, calling upon Congress to censure the President for 
dismissing Duane and removing the deposits. The Senate 
spends three months violently debating the proposal to 
censure, which consists of thirty-four words. It is finally 
adopted as follows : 

"Resolved, that the President, in the late executive pro- 
ceedings, in relation to the public revenue, has assumed 
upon himself authority and power not conferred by the 
Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both." 

Clay, speaking for his resolution, declares Jackson is 
guilty of "open, palpable and daring usurpation." He as- 
serts that time and again Jackson has seized the powers of 
government — executive, legislative and judicial, and now 
grabs the public purse as "Caesar had seized the treasury 
of Rome." He makes bitter reference to Jackson's con- 
duct in the Seminole War, and treads violently upon other 
episodes of Jackson's career. 

Jackson is so enraged as he reads Clay's speech that he 
bites the end off his pipe. "Oh, if I live to get these robes 
of office off me, I will bring the rascal to a dear account," 
he exclaims. Calhoun's attack is even more violent, but 
this gentleman seems to have sunk far beneath Jackson's 
contempt and hatred, with which qualities he is generously 
endowed. Webster, of course, supports Clay's resolution. 
His speech is ponderous and forceful, but it lacks the 
offensive features. Three weeks later, the President sends 
to the Senate a lengthy protest against the resolution, and 
that body consumes another month in angry debate as to 



whether or not it will accept the protest. It votes to ignore 
it. Benton spends the next two years of his Senatorial 
labors trying to have the Censure Resolution expunged. 
Finally, Benton succeeds, and Jackson regards this victory 
as second only to the Battle of New Orleans, because he 
believes he has whipped Clay, Calhoun and Webster with- 
out firing a shot. 


Where is the Bank in all this flood of invective? The 
Bank is gasping for breath under Jackson's death-clutch. 
He has announced the appointment of fifteen state banks 
as pension agents for the government, and served notice 
upon Emperor Nicholas that this entire business be turned 
over to the banks designated. The President demands the 
immediate surrender of all books and papers relating to 
the pensions, and half a million dollars in the bank's 
vaults which will meet the next payments. Biddle flatly re- 
fuses to surrender either books or money. Jackson flings 
a special message to Congress, declaring the Bank is at- 
tempting to defeat the measures of the Administration. 
The Senate replies by passing another set of resolutions, 
asserting that Congress, and not the President, has the 
power to remove the agency for the payment of pensions. 

Apparently blocked at every turn. General Jackson ad- 
heres to his single purpose to destroy the Bank, and he 

In the manufacturing and business sections of the 
country, however, the distress seems to be acute. How 
much of this is merely Bank propaganda is a question for 
conjecture. Jackson is of the belief that no honest men are 



failing in business ; that those who are hard pressed are the 
stock brokers and other speculators, and for this class he 
has no sympathy whatsoever. Albeit, petitions by the thou- 
sand roll in upon the President and members of Congress. 
They are for and against the removal of deposits. Some of 
these petitions appear to be genuine. These are from 
groups of workmen and their families, who say they have 
lost their jobs as the result of retrenchment. 

The White House becomes the stamping ground for 
delegations from all sections of the country. Poverty and 
riches plead with the President to change his course. To 
all he says : ''Why do you come here ? Go to Biddle, he has 
the money. We have none. The distress of which you com- 
plain is due solely to Biddle and his monster Bank." 

Jackson, usually patient with masses of people and will- 
ing to hear and heed their complaints, is aroused as the 
petitions and the delegations show no abatement. To one 
group he shouts : 'Tn the name of God, what do the 
people think to gain by sending their memorials here? If 
they send ten thousand of them, signed by all the men, 
women and children in the land, and bearing the names 
of all on the grave-stones, I will not relax a particle from 
my position." 

To one bewildered deputation, he declares : "Am I to 
violate my constitutional oath? Is it to be expected that 
I am to be turned from my purpose ? Is Andrew Jackson 
to bow the knee to the golden calf, as did the Israelites of 
old? I tell you, if you want relief, go to Nicholas Biddle!" 

In the midst of all this. Clay rises in the Senate. He ad- 
dresses himself to Van Buren, not as Vice President, but 
as the friend of Andrew Jackson. Clay's speech is wet 



with tears wrung from his passionate heart as he recites 
the miseries that will surely result from Jackson's course. 
He says much about "helpless widows" and ''unclad and 
unfed orphans who have been driven by his policy out of 
the busy pursuits in which but yesterday they were gaining 
an honest livelihood." 

''Entreat him to pause," wails the Kentuckian, "and to 
reflect that there is a point beyond which human endur- 
ance can not go ; and let him not drive this brave, generous 
and patriotic people to madness and despair." He ex- 
pects Van Buren to repeat this to Jackson! 

As Clay resumes his seat, Van Buren calls a Senator to 
the dais. The Vice President steps down and trips gayly 
along the aisle in the direction of Clay, who glares at 
him. "May I have a pinch of your fine snuff?" Martin in- 
quires of Clay. The Senator turns scarlet, for he knows 
the "Red Fox of Kinderhook" has by this trick destroyed 
the dramatic effect of his speech. Clay dives into his waist- 
coat pocket, produces the little box and slaps it on his 
desk. Van Buren picks it up gracefully, takes a sniff, bows 
low before the Senator from Kentucky and resumes his 
seat on the dais. 

In April, 1834, the House votes to uphold Jackson. Also 
it orders that a new investigation be made of the conduct 
of the Bank. A committee of seven is appointed and begins 
its labors. The Bank, accordingly, appoints a committee of 
seven to "co-operate" with the House committee. After 
spending some time in the marble palace, the Congres- 
sional committee decides its task is hopeless. On every 



hand it is blocked by the Bank which, by one subterfuge 
or another, decHnes to produce its books. It appears that it 
is not a question of the Bank having anything to hide, as 
much as it is Biddle's resentment of the investigation, 
coupled with the House's vote upholding Jackson. 

Whereupon, the committee returns to Washington, files 
its report of no progress, and recommends that Emperor 
Nicholas and several of his directors be arrested ''and 
brought to the bar of this House, to answer for the con- 
tempt of its lawful authority." 

Congress boils on and on, until all the oratorical pots 
run dry and crack in the wheeze of adjournment. The cam- 
paign for the elections of 1834 is on. Riots, arson and 
pitched battles mark this struggle of democracy. In Phila- 
delphia, the Democrats exchange shots with the Whigs 
and burn and sack their headquarters. Biddle and his 
family leave the city in haste, and guns and bayonets de- 
fend his Bank. But the Whigs are defeated sufficiently 
throughout the country to cause Webster to accept the ver- 
dict as final as regards the Bank. Thurlow Weed, able 
Whig journaHst, of the ''Albany Journal," says of the 
result : "There is one cause for congratulations, con- 
nected with the recent election, in which even we partici- 
pate. It has terminated the United States Bank war." 
Gradually, this opinion is adopted by all the political re- 
tainers of Biddle, and the Bank is left to its fate. In both 
the Senate and House, the Administration is strengthened 
by the election. 

Actually, Jackson knows nothing about banking, and 
in the course of the battle he has advanced many wild 
theories. But then he has fought to crush the Bank, not 



to reform it. Biddle's fight was lost when he refused to 
remove the branch bank president at Portsmouth, New 
Hampshire, and appoint in his place a Jackson man, at the 
request of Ike Hill. That stubbornness of Biddle's led 
Jackson to the killing, and resulted in changing the cur- 
rency system of the United States. Moreover, Biddle's 
advisers — Clay, Calhoun and Webster — knew so little of 
the psychology of the masses that they deluded themselves 
into believing they could rally the people to the support 
of Biddle and his Bank, while their idol — Andrew Jack- 
son — stood firmly against these twain. 

The Bank limps along for a while, under the laws of 
Pennsylvania, and then crashes. Biddle, also, passes. Jack- 
son lives to see the Emperor dead and buried. William 
Cullen Bryant, editor of the ''New York Evening Post,'* 
remarks : "He died at his country seat where he passed 
the last of his days in elegant retirement, which, if justice 
had taken place, would have been spent in the peni- 
tentiary." Poetic justice? A trifle severe. 

The closing years of General Jackson's reign — for reign 
it has been — are marked with political hydrophobia, dis- 
closures of wholesale looting and grafting in the Post- 
Office Department and further triumphs of the President. 
The imbroglio between the United States and France, to 
which reference already has been made, consumed the 
time of Congress from 1834 to 1836. This diplomatic bat- 
tle, which several times threatened to become actual war, 
Jackson won, virtually single-handed; the part that Con- 
gress played was to do all in its power to create a con- 



stant backfire at home and attempt to convince France that 
the President's course did not have the sanction of the 
people. But the King of France knew better, and payments 
began on the American spoliation claims before Jackson 
left office. During the French crisis, his Secretary of State 
was John Forsyth, of Georgia. 

As Congress assembles after the 1834 elections, the 
Whigs, embittered by their defeat, are determined to de- 
liver at least one blow to the Administration. They do not 
have to look far to find the target. The Post Office De- 
partment is corrupt to the core. Major Barry, who has sur- 
vived all the Cabinet disruptions, is a pliant, hail-fellow- 
well-met official, personally honest, but utterly incompetent 
to manage the rapidly increasing business of the post-office. 
Individuals and firms who have obtained contracts for 
hauling the mail have robbed the government right and 
left, and pulled the wool over Barry's eyes. An investiga- 
tion by Congress results in a report that the government 
has been robbed of eight hundred thousand dollars by the 
contractors. Postmasters themselves, in many instances, 
work hand-in-glove with the contractors and share the 
loot. Those who are caught are dismissed, and those who 
think they will be caught, resign. 

No charge of personal dishonesty attaches to Barry, 
who is given the mission to Spain and dies en route. Amos 
Kendall becomes Postmaster General. Kendall goes to the 
root of the corruption and brings order, honesty and ef- 
ficiency into the department before he retires. 

It is under Kendall, however, that a strange ruling is 
made with respect to the right of northern publishers to 
circulate Abolition literature in the southern states. Cal- 



houn is as responsible as any for bringing this issue to the 
front, for he devotes much of his time and eloquence in 
producing sectional feeling over slavery. It appears that 
the postmaster at Charleston, South Carolina, has been 
threatened if he continues to deliver Abolition literature, 
vv^hich worms its way into the hands of the slaves, the 
majority of whom can neither read nor write. But they 
can understand the pictures that invariably accompany 
the text. 

The Charleston postmaster asks Kendall for instruc- 
tions. He says that already he has destroyed hundreds of 
bundles of Abolition newspapers and magazines addressed 
to southern subscribers. 

It is unlikely that Kendall would fail to consult Jackson 
on this important matter. Kendall writes to the postmaster 
at Charleston, saying: "I can not sanction, and will not 
condemn the step you have taken." No public or private 
issue that Jackson ever faced was straddled in this shame- 
less manner. Every postmaster south of Washington is 
thus set up as the censor of what is good for southerners 
to read. 

It is quite possible that General Jackson, himself a 
southerner and the owner of many slaves, foresees the 
approach of this dreaded issue and, already weary to 
exhaustion, desires to pass the matter on to his successors. 

In 1835, there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court bench. 
It has been the life ambition of Roger B. Taney to achieve 
that office. Jackson sends Taney's name to the Senate, but 
that body does not even deign to notice it. It was Taney's 
skill as Secretary of the Treasury, backed up all the way 



by Jackson's imperious and implacable will, that broke the 
Bank. But Jackson bides his time. Before the next Con- 
gress meets, Chief Justice Marshall dies. The President 
nominates Taney, and the Senate, wherein the Adminis- 
tration now commands a majority, confirms the nomina- 

Chief Justice Taney will preside over the Supreme 
Court until 1864. Attached to his name and to his pen will 
be the Dred Scott decision, which the Civil War will erase 
in a sea of blood. 

In his message to Congress in 1835, the President 
says: ^'Every branch of labor we see crowned with the 
most abundant rewards; in every element of national re- 
sources and wealth, and individual comfort, we witness 
the most rapid and solid improvement." He announces 
that the public debt is paid, and that there is a surplus 
in the Treasury of eleven million dollars. 

It was at the beginning of this year — January 30, 1835 
— that an attempt to assassinate Jackson was made in the 
Capitol, where he went to attend the funeral of a Con- 
gressman. After the services, the President, surrounded by 
friends, was passing through the rotunda when the luna- 
tic, Lawrence, sprang forth and planted himself in front 
of the President. He aims his pistol, point blank at the 
President, but the weapon does not explode. Jackson lifts 
his cane to strike the assassin who has been knocked down 
even before the blow falls. Of course, political capital is 
made of the incident by the Jacksonians. The President 
himself insists that Lawrence was the tool of the Bank 
and the opposition in Congress. He continues to believe 



this, despite the report of the physicians who examine the 
demented Lawrence, who tells them that Jackson has de- 
prived him of the British crown. 


The time is drawing near for the President to put aside 
his ''robes of office." After the manner of Washington, he 
prepares a Farewell Address, which excites the derision 
of his enemies and endears him to his friends. 

*'My own race," he says, "is nearly run; advanced age 
and failing health warn me that before long I must pass 
beyond the reach of human events, and cease to feel the 
vicissitudes of human affairs. I thank God that my life has 
been spent in a land of liberty, and that He has given me 
a heart to love my country with the affection of a son. 
And filled with gratitude for your constant and unwaver- 
ing kindness, I bid you a last and affectionate farewell." 

The reception accorded this valedictory by the opposi- 
tion is not unlike that which greeted Washington's Fare- 
well Address when Jackson, then of the opposition, was 
a member of Congress. 

It remains for the "New York American" to express 
the opposition's opinion of Andrew Jackson's last ut- 
terance as President : 

"Happily it is the last humbug which the mischievous 
popularity of this illiterate, violent, vain, and iron-willed 
soldier can impose upon a confiding and credulous people." 


It is March 4, 1837. General Jackson, so weak that he 
can scarcely totter out of bed, is astir early. He is going 



As President, about 1835 


to participate in another event which he properly regards 
as his personal triumph. He rides in his coach to the 
Capitol. Sun drenches the streets with its warmth. Along 
Pennsylvania Avenue, one of the few thoroughfares that 
is paved, throngs of people cheer Andrew Jackson. The 
aged and enfeebled man bows to the right and to the left. 

The man whom Jackson made Chief Justice of the 
United States administers the oath to Martin Van Buren, 
who Jackson has made President of the United States. 

In a few days. General Jackson departs from Washing- 
ton. He takes with him Rachel's picture, her Bible, ninety 
dollars — all that he has saved out of his eight years' 
salary — and Earle, Rachel's protege and for the last eight 
years painter at the "Court of King Andrew I." 

His last day in Washington is spent at the home of 
Blair, who has been a main prop of the Jackson reign. 
Jackson expresses two regrets : that he never had an op- 
portunity to shoot Clay, or to hang Calhoun. 




Chapter XXX 

HOME is the Hermitage ! 
Nashville provides an impressive welcome for 
the Old Warrior, as her citizens had done for thirty years, 
on every occasion of his return from the wars and civil 
strife. On this occasion, he is met in the cedars near Leba- 
non. The old men, among whom he has fought and gam- 
bled at the race track and at the cock-pit, are ranged in 
front, and the boys and youths in the rear. There are 
speeches of welcome by the leading citizens ; then a young 
man steps forward and addresses the General. He tells 
him that the children of his old soldiers and friends wel- 
come him home, and are ready to serve under his banner. 

General Jackson bows his head on his cane and the 
tears stream down his cheeks. 'T could have stood all but 
this, it is too much, too much," he says, and totters away. 

The General is seventy years old. When he went to 
Washington to begin his term as President, he had in his 
pocket five thousand dollars. His salary was twenty-five 
thousand dollars a year. His plantation was in a prosper- 
ous condition and he thought it would yield him a steady 
income in addition to his salary. The reports from his 



overseer from time to time convinced him that the farm 
needed his personal attention to be profitable. General 
Jackson always has been a generous host. He entertained 
lavishly at the White House, despite his continuous wars 
with Congress. He would never permit his friends to put 
up at taverns when they came to Washington. They were 
his personal guests at the Executive Mansion. His liquor 
bills alone ran into many thousands of dollars — and Gen- 
eral Jackson was never more than a moderate drinker. 
During his second term, the Hermitage was destroyed 
by fire and many of his relics were consumed in the flames. 
He ordered the Hermitage rebuilt on the old plans. 

His adopted son, who leaned to gambling, cost Jackson 
more than he ever kept record of; but the General's af- 
fection for Andrew never cooled, and he paid his son's 
debts without a murmur. There were relatives of Rachel's 
to whom he dispensed his personal funds with princely 
hands; no record was kept of these contributions — and 
Jackson was always meticulous in keeping accounts of 
his receipts and expenditures. His friends had only to ask 
him for money to get it. 

He is much poorer now, after eight years as President, 
than when he took the office. Writing to a friend, he de- 
clares it has been necessary for him to sell a tract of his 
land, confining his estate to his own homestead, in order 
that he might make the necessary repairs about the planta- 
tion, and purchase corn for a new crop. By the sale of this 
tract he is able to pay ofif his debts. All his life he has 
held the view that debt places a mortgage upon the debtor's 
honor, and deprives him of his moral freedom. 

The General has scarcely seated himself in his favorite 



arm chair when he learns that more trouble is in the air. 
''George Jackson,'^ one of his favorite slaves, is accused 
of killing another slave in the course of a battle among 
the Blacks. George is in jail at Nashville, facing a charge 
of murder. The General goes to interview George in the 
jail. After protracted examinations, he satisfies himself of 
George's innocence. He employs the ablest counsel in 
Nashville to defend his humble friend. Besides employing 
these lawyers, Jackson, scarcely able to walk, drives to 
Nashville every day for nearly six weeks to help the at- 
torneys prepare the case. He is determined to spend his 
last cent to save this black man's life, which is not con- 
sidered important in a white man's court in Tennessee in 
1839. ''George Jackson" is acquitted. Could the verdict 
have been otherwise, with Andrew Jackson sponsoring his 
cause? The case costs him fifteen hundred dollars — a lot 
of money in 1839. 

Many are the days that General Jackson becomes remi- 
niscent. If friends are near, he will talk interminably and, 
albeit, strongly, and interestingly, of the old days. Should 
he find himself alone when memories surge up in his mind, 
he will commit them to paper as letters to his friends. 
Such an one is his letter to President Van Buren: 

"The approbation I have received from the people every- 
where on my return home on the close of my official life, 
has been a source of much gratification to me. I have been 
met at every point by numerous democratic-republican 
friends, and many repenting whigs, with a hearty welcome 
and expressions of 'well done thou faithful servant.' This 



is truly the patriot's reward, the summit of my gratifica- 
tion, and will be my solace to my grave. When I review the 
arduous administration through which I have passed, the 
formidable opposition, to its very close, of the combined 
talents, wealth and power of the whole aristocracy of the 
United States, aided as it is, by the monied monopolies of 
the whole country, with their corrupting influence, with 
which we had to contend, I am truly thankful to my God 
for this happy result. It displays the virtue and power 
of the sovereign people, and that all must bow to their 
will. But it was the voice of this sovereign will that so 
nobly sustained us against this formidable power and 
enabled me to pass through my administration so as to 
meet its approbation." 

Upon another occasion, he has a long talk at the Her- 
mitage with a friend from Jacksonport, Jackson County, 
Arkansas. The question of the removal of the Indians 
from southern states into the far West is discussed ; Jack- 
son defends his policy for the removal on the ground of 
economic and social necessity in the interest of the whites, 
as well as humanity to the Red men. 

And then the old Indian fighter makes this admission: 
''Ever}^ war we had with the Indians was brought on by 
frontier ruffians, who stole their horses, oppressed, de- 
frauded or persecuted the Indians. This caused them to 
unbury the hatchet, and their massacres plunged innocent 
people in all the horrors and cruelties of war." It would 
have been impossible for Jackson to have had this point 
of view while he was burning Indian villages and slaugh- 
tering the inhabitants following the attack upon Fort 




The General had promised Rachel that he would join 
the church. Up to now he has been too busy to give at- 
tention to the matter; but he has kept in touch with af- 
fairs of the spirit through the almost daily reading of her 
Bible. Religion with him is purely an emotional affair, 
and he is now carried all the way under its influence as a 
result of attending revival meetings in Nashville. 

There are plenty of references in Jackson's state papers 
and letters to ''the intervention of Providence," etc., etc. 
He believes there is a God who presides over a heaven, 
and he is quite sure that Rachel is among the favored 
angels. He wants to be wherever her benign spirit reposes ; 
also, he wants to avoid as far as possible, after this life, 
the chance of meeting the roaming spirits of Clay, Cal- 
houn, Webster, Adams, and a long line of other foes who 
pestered him while on earth. He is certain that these gen- 
tlemen and those of their ilk will fry in hell for ever. 
Therefore, to escape the odors arising from the cooking of 
his enemies, Andrew Jackson chooses to go to heaven. 

He calls in the parson, and for many hours they talk 
about the matter in the deepening shadows of the little 
church in the garden of the Hermitage. The General 
says : *T would long since have made this solemn public 
dedication to Almighty God, but knowing the wretched- 
ness of this world, and how prone many are to evil, that 
the scoffer of religion would have cried out — 'hypocrisy! 
He has joined the church for political effect,' I thought it 
best to postpone this public act until my retirement to the 



shades of private life, when no false imputation could be 
made that might be injurious to religion/' 

The General answers satisfactorily the usual questions 
with respect to doctrine and experience. Then, the Pres- 
byterian clergyman pops a question that takes the candi- 
date for churchly honors off his guard and all but floors 

''General," says the pastor, "there is one more question 
which it is my duty to ask you. Can you forgive all your 
enemies?" Jackson sits bolt upright. He fixes a stern eye 
upon the countenance of the minister. There is a pause. 
Then Jackson replies that he is willing to forgive his 
political enemies, but not those who abused him ''when 
I was serving my country in the field." The minister 
shakes his head sadly and says it will not do. The General 
must come clean. He must harbor no personal enmity 
toward a single living being. There is another pause. Jack- 
son reflects that he has gotten himself into an awful fix. 
Finally, he announces that he is willing to forgive all his 
enemies collectively, but not individually. He is duly ac- 
cepted as a member of the Presbyterian church, the faith 
of his fathers. 


In a little while, his friend Earle passes away. The Gen- 
eral is shocked and mourns the death of his friend as if 
he were his own son. Gradually, the garden of the Her- 
mitage is becoming a little cemetery. He writes to his 
friend Blair : "I am taught to submit to what Providence 
chooses, with humble submission. He giveth, and He 



taketh away, and blessed be His name, for He doeth all 
things well." Like Rachel, the Old Warrior is beginning 
to quote Scripture. In the old days his pistols and his 
blazing wrath were his rod and his staff. Now he gazes 
upon the graves in his garden as the sun slopes beyond the 
rim, and looks to God. 

There are times, however, when the old fire returns. 
President Van Buren, facing the end of his term and 
desiring another, expresses the wish to make a tour of the 
country and pay a visit to his political mentor. The Gen- 
eral perks up and writes to "Matty" to come along. Polk, 
however, thinks it would not look right. He tells Van 
Buren the country will say Jackson is dictating to the Ad- 
ministration. The question is referred to Jackson for a de- 
cision. He replies bluntly : ''My course has always been to 
put my enemies at defiance, and pursue my own course." 
But the ''Red Fox" is of a different stripe. He does not 

Van Buren, although the embodiment of Jacksonian 
policies, is a wily politician who somehow missed the 
higher dignity of becoming a stateman. He is honest and 
tries to do what is right, but he has not the confidence of 
the people, and he lacks both charm and boldness, which 
Jackson possessed in abundance. The Whigs in 1840 
nominate General William Henry Harrison, of Indiana, 
for President, and John Tyler, of Virginia, for Vice 
President. Tyler rightly is a Jackson man, but he broke 
with the party on the Nullification issue, and also on the 
withdrawal of deposits from the Bank. Later on, Tyler 
will try to stage a come-back into the Democratic Party 
as its leader and its candidate for President in 1844; but 




Jackson will block this. Tyler, he will say, must first pay 
penance. Result: Tyler is not elected in 1844. 

Concerning General Harrison, Jackson is angry. It is 
clear that his membership in the church does not stand in 
the way when an enemy is to be affronted and humbled. 

The General spends days on end writing letters to 
political leaders telling them when and how they must 
stop the Presidential pretensions of General Harrison. 
He carries on a campaign in behalf of Van Buren's re- 
election, but it is a lost cause. Before the result is known, 
Jackson writes an ugly letter about Harrison's military 
ability, and exclaims : ''May the Lord have mercy upon us 
if we have a war during his Presidency." Neither has he 
forgotten his tilt with General Scott. He calls him "a 
pompous nullity." 

In April, 1841, President Harrison dies, Tyler ascends, 
and Jackson rejoices that "a kind Providence has inter- 
vened." He writes to Blair, saying that Harrison and his 
Cabinet were preparing to destroy the Union ''under the 
direction of the profligate demagogue Henry Clay."- 

There are visitors aplenty at the Hermitage. His son 
and family long have been installed in the spacious man- 
sion. Donelson and his family frequently are under the 
roof. The General, prostrate most of the time and in great 
pain, delights in the merry laughter of the children romp- 
ing in the great halls and sliding down the banisters. 
Guests come and go. The General bids them stay as long 
as they choose. In the General's room there is a huge 
arm chair, and in this he sits when he is too ill even to go 



down stairs. On the mantelpiece repose his two pistols, 
relics of brighter and bloodier days. A guest picks up 
one of them and examines it. 'That," says the General, 
casually, *'is the pistol with which I killed Mr. Dickinson." 
He resumes the reading of his newspaper. 

In 1842, a bill is introduced in the Senate to remit the 
fine of one thousand dollars laid on Jackson for con- 
tempt of Judge Hall in New Orleans in 181 5. The General 
is elated. His letters go forth to his party men to support 
this bill with energy. He insists upon its passage as a 
matter of his vindication. For two years the bill is debated 
in Congress, and in the interim the Senator who intro- 
duced it dies. The bill is finally passed on February 16, 
1844, and a check for two thousand seven hundred and 
thirty-two dollars, representing the principal and inter- 
est, is sent to the Hermitage. Calhoun votes to remit the 
fine. But Jackson waves no olive branch in the direction 
of his enemy. 

As the campaign of 1844 approaches, the enfeebled 
Warrior is again active ; this time in behalf of James K. 
Polk. Once more the General's letters booming Polk fill 
the columns of Blair's *'Globe" and are reprinted in the 
Democratic press with all the dignity of the Word handed 
down from Sinai. Polk is elected. But it was Jackson, 
not Polk, who defeated Henry Clay. Sweet victory! At 
once Jackson is urged by many old friends and an equal 
number of new ones to use his influence with Polk to get 
jobs for them. Among these is his old friend, Amos Ken- 
dall. Amos is broke, and he seeks the mission to Spain, 
which appears to be quite popular with the Democrats. 

Jackson, while not wishing to be placed in the position 



of dictating to the President, still finds it in his heart to 
ask this favor for his friend. Now, the Minister to Spain 
is Washington Irving. Jackson knows this, and writes to 
Polk : "There can be no delicacy in recalling Irving. He is 
only fit to write a book and scarcely that, and he has 
become a good Whig." 

In March, 1845, Commodore Elliot makes a speech at 
Washington. He says he has brought home from Pales- 
tine, in the Constitution, an Oriental sarcophagus believed 
to contain the body of the Roman Emperor, Alexander Se- 
verus. The Commodore is moved to write to Jackson about 
this. 'T pray you," he says, "to live on in the fear of the 
Lord; dying the death of a Roman soldier; an Emperor's 
coffin awaits you." 

The General replies promptly, with solemn dignity. "I 
must decline accepting the honor intended to be bestowed. 
I can not consent that my mortal body shall be laid in a 
repository prepared for an emperor or a king. My republi- 
can feelings and principles forbid it; the simplicity of our 
system of government forbids it. True virtue can not 
exist where pomp and parade are the governing passions ; 
it can only dwell with the people — the great laboring and 
producing classes that form the bone and sinew of our 
confederacy. I have prepared an humble depository for 
my mortal body beside that wherein lies my beloved 


In his last year — 1845 — General Jackson suffers such 
torture as few men are called upon to bear. The com- 
bination — tuberculosis and dropsy — keeps him suspended 



between exquisite misery and the grave. He does not com- 
plain. He takes it all in good part, fully realizing that 
recovery is impossible and that death will bring peace at 
last. Virtually his last act is to sign an appeal for a pen- 
sion for an old soldier who fought beside him in the War 
of 1812. One of his last letters is to his old friend, Frank 
Blair, of which this is an extract: "This may be the last 
letter I may be able to write you. But live or die I am your 
friend (and never deserted one for policy) — and I leave 
my papers and reputation in your keeping. As far as justice 
is due to my fame, I know you will shield it. I ask no 
more. I rest upon truth, and require nothing but what 
truth will mete to me. All my household join me in kind 
wishes for your health & prosperity, and that of your 
family & that you may triumph over all enemies — May 
God's choicest blessings be bestowed upon you and yrs 
thro life, is the prayer of yr sincere friend." 

He rallies and requests that when the hour strikes, his 
friend Major Lewis shall be sent for. He speaks of Texas, 
and praises Sam Houston, declaring that to him the coun- 
try owes ''the recovery of Texas." 


It is June 8, 1845. Sunday. The sun is brilliant. The 
day is hot. A Negro boy stands beside the General, fan- 
ning him. The members of his household gather about his 
bed. To each and every one the dying man bids farewell. 
His slaves tip-toe across the porch. They tread quietly into 
the house and are admitted into the presence of the Old 
Warrior whom they love not as a master but as a friend. 

They weep. Others press their faces against the window 


o ^ 



K a 



panes, expecting the General to creep down stairs once 
more. The General hears the Negroes sobbing. 

''What is the matter with my dear children? Have I 
alarmed you? Do not cry, dear children, and we all will 
meet in heaven — all — white and black." 

Major Lewis, companion in arms, friend in the long 
years of civil tumult, comes and slips into the room. He 
sits beside his old Commander. 

"I am glad to see you, Major," says Jackson. "You had 
like to have been too late." There is a long pause. 

''Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my 
wife there," he whispers so softly that the words are 
scarcely audible. 

The Old Warrior falls into the long sleep. 



The bibliography of Andrew Jackson is one of the most 
extensive that attaches to any American. His first biography 
was begun by Major Reid, who died before the task was 
completed. It was continued by John H. Eaton, friend and 
neighbor of the subject, and later a member of his Cabinet. 
The Eaton biography, originally published in 1818, was 
reprinted in 1824 to assist Jackson in his first campaign for 
the Presidency. 

The Eaton book, noted for the omission of material un- 
favorable and embarrassing to Jackson, was for many years 
the basis of all popular biographies of the Tennesseean. 
There were at least a dozen Jackson books available between 
1818 and 1845. Some of them were little more than political 
tracts, written either by his friends or his enemies. These 
were supplemented by hundreds of pamphlets that dealt with 
the current issues that arose during his Presidency. 

The printing press in the Jackson period was busier than 
it had been during any previous Presidency. His reign 
probably produced more political writers and caricaturists 
than had appeared in all the previous Administrations com- 

The material about Jackson and his period is mountainous. 
It is sufficient to give pause to the biographer who attempts 
to sift it in seeking for the residue that represents and speaks 
for the man. In reconstructing the character of Andrew 
Jackson and setting forth his story within that framework, 
vast quantities of this source of material have been available 
and much of it has been useful to the present writer. 

Several authors have used Jackson as the hero for his- 



torical romance. Of course, such treatment is of no assistance 
either to the historian or the biographer. 

The present writer has concerned himself with the single 
task of telling Andrew Jackson's story; or, perhaps, what is 
more accurate, letting Jackson's story tell itself. In this en- 
deavor he has availed himself of historical documents, 
original manuscripts and letters, and the following volumes : 

Life of Andrew Jackson. By James Parton. Three vol- 
umes. i860. 

Life of Andrew Jackson. By John Spencer Bassett. 191 1. 

Life of Andrew Jackson. By John H. Eaton. 1824. 

Andrew Jackson As A Public Man. By William Graham 
Sumner. 1897. 

Pictorial Life of Andrew Jackson. By John Frost, LL.D. 

Life and Public Services of General Andrew Jackson. 
By John S. Jenkins. 1880. 

Party Battles of the Jackson Period. By Claude G. 
Bowers. 1922. 

The Life and Actions of Andrew Jackson. By A Free 
Man. 183 1. 

Annual Messages, Veto Messages, Protest, Etc., of An- 
drew Jackson. 1835. 

Messages and Papers of the Presidents. Edited by James 
D. Richardson. 1896. 

Correspondence of Andrew Jackson. Edited by John 
Spencer Bassett. Three volumes. 1926-27-28. 

Thomas Jefferson. By David Muzzey, 1918. 

Memoirs of John Quincy Adams. Edited by C. F. Adams. 

Thirty Years' View, 1820-1850. By Thomas H. Benton. 

Life of John C. Calhoun. By John S. Jenkins. 

Life of Henry Clay. By Carl Schurz. 1887. 

Philip Hone. Diary. 1889. 

Memoir of Roger B. Taney. By Samuel Tyler, 1872. 



Sam Houston, Colossus in Buckskin. By George Creel. 

Albert Gallatin. By John Austin Stevens. 1883. 

Autobiography of Martin Van Duren. Edited by John C. 
Fitzpatrick. 1918. 

Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster. 1852. 

History of The United States. By Woodrow Wilson. Five 
volumes. 1902. 

A Retrospect of Western Travel. By Harriet Martineau. 
Two volumes. 1839. 

Society In America. Same. Two volumes. 1837. 

Our Republic. By S. E. Forman. 1922. 

The Outline Of History. By H. G. Wells. 1920. 

The Rise of American Civilisation. By Charles A. Beard 
and Mary R. Beard. Two volumes. 1927. 

The Causes of The War of Independence. By Claude H. 
Van Tyne. 1922. 

The Workers In American History. By James Oneal. 192 1. 

Law Tales For Laymen and Wayside Tales From Caro- 
lina. By Joseph Lacy Seawell. 1925. 

Special thanks are due for assistance to Esther Eberson 
Karsner who read the manuscript and helped with proof- 

David Karsner.